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M E M O I E S 


Jfrnm tl^t (Bmlmt %QtB io iljc 







[Riyht of Translation reserved by the Author.'] 










London, 1877. 



N her beauty and in her obscurity, Ireland 
has been called, and not inappropriately, 
"the Cinderella of the Empire." Her 
children, when opportunity offers, possess the 
capabilities of achieving much that is praise- 
worthy ; for Nature has never been niggard of 
her physical and intellectual gifts to the Irish 
race ; and to preserve in a collected form the 
names and achicvemonts of some of the more 
gifted daughters of Ei-in, hiis l)ecji tlie silent 
patriotism of my life. 

I am painfully aware of the many deficiencies 
to be found in these volumes ; but I would beg 
the indulgence of the public, on the plea that 
tliis is the firf<t time a work of this kind — dealing 
solely with memoirs of Irishwomen — has been 
attempted. It had been my original intention 
to have included notices of some living Irish- 
women, whose lives and labours entitle them to 
a place in a work of this nature ; but, acting 
upon the advice of those more qualified to judge, 
have refrained from doing so. 


There is a good deal of original matter in the 
book ; I would especially mention some hitherto 
unpublished poems by William Wordsworth, and 
the inie history of the romantic friendship of the 
"Ladies of Llangollen." For these I tender my 
best thanks to Charles W. Hamilton, Esq., ot 
Hamwood, Clonee, County Meath, who placed his 
valuable collection of MSS. and letters at my 

I also take this opportunity of thanking the 
many friends, acquaintances, and fellow- workers 
who liavo kindly answered inquiries, and have 
afforded me every information in their power. 
I would particularise Miss Julia Grierson ; Sir 
Bernard Burke, Ulster ; Lady Wilde ; Miss Ellen 
Clayton; Charles Beade, Esq. ; Professor O'Looney, 
M.B.I. A. ; Bev. Ponsonby A. Lyons ; Alfred 
Webb, Esq. ; the late Henry Wilson, Esq., M.D., 
M.B.LA. ; B. Garnett, Esq., the courteous super- 
intendent of the Beading Boom of the Bi-itish 
Museum ; and his obliging assistants. 

E. Owens Blackburnr, 

GiiOUCiiaTKii, Orescent, London, N.W. 
8<i]^temlcr, 1877. 

































N the early history of every nation it will 
be found that mythologic legend is largely 
blended with plain matter-of-fact. This 
iiHsei-lion iH said to bo especially ap[)licablo to 
early L'ish history, although why such an in- 
vidious distinction should be made it is diffici.dt to 
say ; for the same thing holds good concerning the 
early history of Rome, of Greece, or, indeed, of 
any other antique nation. The story of Rhea 
Silvia, and that of Romulus and Remus and the 
wolf, which are so gravely recorded as historical 
facts, have no more claims to be believed than 
have the half-mythical, half-real stories whence 
the history of the ancient Irish must necessarily 
be compiled ; and surely they have quite as good 
a right to pretend to historical accuracy as has the 
Iliad or the Odyssey. No one attempts to dis- 

VOL. I. B 


prove the admixture of poetic fiction, bordering 
largely on the marvellous, which is interwoven 
with probabilities in these early romantic chronicles. 
At the same time, no person of ordinary reflection 
for a moment doubts but that these half legendary 
tales represent accurate historic facts and per- 
sonages. Moreover, it will be admitted that, how- 
ever obscure, and in many cases irreconcilable, 
these legends be in themselves, yet they represent 
these facts more truly and more clearly than can 
now be done by substituting in their stead any 
other hypothesis founded upon the so-called 
wisdom and experience of more recent times. 

Eve, according to orthodox behef, changed the 
whole course of afiairs for mankind in her search 
after knowledge : the subtlety and affection of the 
mother of Moses provided the Jews with a leader, 
and a receiver and giver of laws, which influence 
them down to the present day : Helen of Troy and 
Cleopatra successively overturned empires : the 
influence of Elizabeth is the turning-point in the 
history of England's religious opinions, of its com- 
merce, and of its literature : the political affairs of 
France have, in all ages, been largely influenced by 
women : Koger Palmer, afterwards Lord Castle- 
maine, sold his wife — not at Smithfield, but at 
Whitehall — to his Majesty King Charles II., for 
the sum of one peerage, and that an Irish one — 


taken on consideration. That woman — Barbara 
Villiers, Lady Castlemaine, afterwards Duchess 
of Cleveland — brought England to bankruptcy, 
and was the indirect cause of the National Debt. 

Other instances, gathered from the histories of 
many lands, might be quoted of the enormous in- 
fluence exerted by women upon the destinies of 
nations. But this being a work purporting to be 
solely about Irishwomen, it remains therefore to 
be seen how and what they have contributed to 
the history of their countiy — whether politically, 
socially, or intellectually. 

There are five great events in the early history 
of Ireland, and these occurrences have taken place 
tlirougli tlio instrumentality of women. 

1st. The building of the Palace of Emhain-Macha, 
which subsequently became the residence of the 
UHdian kings. The founding of this fortress 
fixes the first probably accurate date in Irish 

2nd. In tlie reign of Queen Mcave (or Mcdbh, the 
Queen Mab of Shakspeare) occurred the famous 
Cattle-Spoil, or Cattle Plunder of Cuailgne.* The 
account of this expedition, undertaken by Queen 
Mcave against Daire Mac-Fia(3hna, forms the 
subject of the celebrated Tdin-Bo-Chuailgne, the 

* A district now called Cooley, in the modern county of Lonth. 

B 2 


chief of the Irish ancient heroic tales. It suppHes 
the place in Irish literature which Chaucer's 
Canterbury Tales do in English. 

3rd. St. Brighitt, orBrighid, or Breeyith, or Bride, 
or Bridget, or Brio-it — as her name has been com- 
monly Anglicised — was Abbess of Cill-Dara.^ She, 
following the example of Mdlanie on the Continent 
of Europe, instituted female monasteries or nunne- 
ries in Ireland. It is recorded that the virgins 
who followed her example, and devoted themselves 
to a religious life, were remarkable for their skill in 
needlework, and in the illuminating of manuscripts. 
Therefore, St. Bridget is commonly and justly 
considered as the first who gave an impetus to 
Christian female education in Ireland. 

4th. Dearbhforguill (or Dervorgill) — tlie Helen 
of Irish history — wife of the Prince of Breffny, 
was abducted by Dermot, King of Leinster. The 
consequence of this act was the Anglo-Norman 
invasion of Ireland. 

5th. By the marriage of Eva, daughter of 
Dermot, King of Leinster, with Bichard Fitz- 
gerald, Earl Strongbow, an Anglo-Norman, the 
entire political attitude of England and Ireland 
towards each other was changed. 

From this marriage is lineally descended her 

* Modern Kildaro. 


Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, Sovereign 
of Great Britain and Ireland. 

Instances might easily be selected of many 
other women celebrated in early Irish history ; 
but tlie enumeration of them might prove tedious, 
as their lives are more or less mere records of their 
prowess and intrigues in love and war. Therefore, 
it has been thought better simply to give a short 
sketch of the life of each of the five typical women 
of ancient Ireland. 

That the early Irish Queens, Macha and Mcave, 
actually lived and moved and had their being, has- 
been established beyond any doubt. It is abso- 
lutely impossible to tear them from the framework 
of romantic legend hi wlilch tlicy arc set. The 
reader must, therefore, look upon their lives, as 
recorded in the old chronicles, as upon two alle- 
gorical subjects, where real personages are endowed 
with attributes which are in themselves some- 
times supernatural, but which are based upon 
actual occurrences. 

?^3S:<7 «^< 






DEARBHFORGUILL, the Helen of Ireland- 
AND EVA, Wife of Strongbow. 


3603. A.M. 

lACHA MONG-RUADH, or Macha of the 
Hed Tresses, is the first Irish queen con- 
cerning whom we have any authentic 
record in the early history of Ireland. The praise 
of her beauty and prowess has been so often, and 
so minutely, said and sung by both chroniclers 
and bards, that it requires no very great effort of 
the imagination to fancy her standing at the head of 
her stalwart-looking troops, with her long ruddy 
hair streaming on the wind, her regal mantle thrown 
carelessly around her, and fastened on the right 
shoulder — in order to leave her right hand and 
arm free — with the famous golden brooch, of which 
more anon. 

A veritable Queen of Beauty sufficient to sway 
the hearts of men, the only empire which, in these 
primitive, patriarchal times, they were willing to 
concede to a woman. But Macha Mong-Buadh, 
wanted something more. She aimed at the sove- 


reignt}'- of the kingdom left to her by her father, 
Aedh E-uadh, whose sole child she was. 

Womanlike, she aimed at power, and woman- 
like, she attained her desire by stratagem. 

Aedh Ruadh, Kimbaoth, and Dithorba reigned 
over the Ulidians in alternate succession, each for 
the period of seven years, until they had each 
enjoyed the royal power three times respectively. 
Then Aedh Kuadh died, leaving no posterity ex- 
cept Macha Mong-Ruadh, his only daughter, who, 
when the turn came that should have been her 
father's, claimed her right to the alternate suc- 
cession as his representative. This was refused. 
Dithorba and his sons repudiated her claim, say- 
ing that they would never consent to dehver up 
the royal power into the hands of any woman. 
The dauntless Macha immediately gathered around 
her, her flither's retainers, and declared war against 
Dithorba and his sons. ' She not alone gained the 
victory, but she reigned for the seven years that 
her father would have claimed had he been ahve. 
Furthermore, Queen Macha strengthened her posi- 
tion by marrying Kimbaoth. • • 

About this time Dithorba died, leaving behind 
him three sons, who declared their intention of 
dividing the kingdom amongst themselves, a 
proposition which naturally found no favour 
either in the eyes of Kunbaoth or of Queen 


Macha. The latter declared that she owned the 
kingdom, not under the former guarantee, but by 
right of battle. 

Again she declared war, and a battle was 
fought, m which Macha was a second time vic- 
torious. The sons of Dithorba were completely 
routed, their army dispersed, and they were 
obliged to fly and hide themselves in the depths 
of the forests of Connaught. 

But ah ! the good snint littlo know 
What that wily sex can do ! 

So sang Thomas Moore in the nineteenth cen- 
tury, and so might he have sung in the days of 
Queen Macha ; for, anxious to establish her mo- 
narchical power, she went in person and unattended 
in search of the fugitive sons of Dithorba, deter- 
mined to lure them into her hands, and thus secure 
the sovereignty for herself alone. 

With this object in view she disguised herself 
as a leper* by rubbing the dough of rye over her 
face, and then went in search of the five fugitive 

The story goes on to say that she found them 

* Leprosy wag a very common disease in Ireland formerly. 
Witness the number of endowments of Leper Hospitals, especially 
in the south of the island. 

[Note. — Since the above was written, I have boon informed by a 
physician that, at that period, all skin-disease in Ireland was known 
by the common name of lejarosy. — E. 0. B.] 


in the dense forests of Burren, in tlie wilds of 
Connaiiglit, cooking a wild boar, part of which 
they gave her to eat, and then asked her the 
news. Having charmed them by her conversational 
powers, and still more so by the brightness of her 
eyes, the supposed leper took her departure. One 
of the brothers, unable to resist her fascinations, 
followed her into a distant part of the forest. 
" Here," says the chronicle, " Macha Mong-Ruadh 
bound him in fetters ;" but whether with tangible 
fetters, or by means of magic arts sucli as tliose 
used by " Coinus," is a point upon wliich the 
chronicle is tantalisingly silent. Suffice to say, 
she left him bound, and then returned to try the 
effects of her charms upon the other four. They 
questioned her concerning their brother, to which 
Queen Macha replied that he was unwilling to 
meet tliem, being ashamed of having been smitten 
by the bright glances of a leper. " He needeth it 
not," runs the chronicle, "for we have all been 
captivated by the beauteous lustre of your eyes." 
They then vied with each other in paying court 
to the seeming leper, who enticed them suc- 
cessively into the forest, and there left them bound, 
as she had left their brother. She then brought 
them " tied together" to Emhain.* 

* The modern Navan-Fort. 


Assembling her chieftains — the men of UUdia — 
she demanded of them what she should do with the 
captives ; and tliey, with one accord, indignantly 
declared that they should be put to deatli. But 
Macha showed herself to be as well versed in the 
written Brehon laws of the land — which forbade 
the putting to death of captives taken in battle 
— as she was in the unwritten, but, as the history 
of mankind has proved, far more lastmg laws of 
coquetry, for she answered promptly — 

" Not so ; for that would be against the law, 
and would render my reign unrighteous. But let 
them be made slaves of, and condemned to build a 
fortress for me, which shall be for ever henceforth 
the capital city of this province." 

Thereupon Queen Macha took the golden brooch 
which fastened her mantle on her right shoulder, 
and with it she measured the site of the castle or 
fortress. This building was called the Palace of 
Emhain-Macha, or " Madia's Brooch." The name 
is derived from two woids — " eo," a brooch or phi, 
and " muin," meaning "the neck."* 

Historians are very much divided in their 
opinions as to how much of this story is romance 
and liow mucli fact, especially O'FJalicrty, who, 
in his " Ogygia," rejects the legend of the sons of 

* Vide Sir William Wilde's Catalogue of the Royal Irish Academy. 


Dithorba being " tied together" as altogether 
fabulous. Some have taken exception to the as- 
sertion that Queen Macha marked out the plan of 
the palace with her brooch. But it seems perfectly 
feasible that she could have done so, when we con- 
sider the enormous size of some of the massive 
brooches now preserved in the Hoyal Irish 
Academy. In the same collection there is pre- 
served a fragment of a huge silver brooch, which 
must have been even larger than the celebrated 
gold brooch of Queen Meave, who lived in the cen- 
tury immediately preceding the Christian era. 
This famous fastening, according to modern cal- 
culation, must have weighed about four pounds 

This erection of the Palace of Emhain-Macha, in 
the province of Ulster, is taken as the starting- 
point of credible Irish history. It was most 
superbly built, and became the chief residence of 
the Ulidian kings. The founding of this royal 
residence is the chief recorded circumstance wortliy 
of remark in this reign. Queen Macha was 
sovereign of the Ulidians for seven years, and was 
succeeded by Achy Eolachair, the great-grandson 
of King Argetmar. There is no mention of this 
Queen having had any children ; and chroniclers 
are silent as to when and where she died. The 
one fact alone stands out prominently — namely, 


that Queen Macha of the UHdians caused the five 
captive sons of Ditliorba, either to build or to take 
part in the building of the palace of Emliain- 
Macha ; and that the time of its founding is the 
first date in Irish history upon which any rehance 
can be placed. 


3937. A.M. 

EAVE — or Medbh — was the daughter of 
Ecohaidh, King of Connaught, and of 
Crochin Croderg, the handmaid of liis 
wife, the Lady Edain, a chieftainess famed for 
her beauty and accomphshments.* Her three 
brothers had been killed at the battle of 
Ath-Cuniaii\\ a circumstance which so weakened 
their father's power that he set up in opposition 
his daughter Muave as Queen of Connaught. 
Ecohaidh had five other daughters, named re- 
spectively Mumhain, Eile, Deirdre, Clothra, and 
Eithne — of all of whom strange stories are re- 
corded in many ancient Irish manuscripts. Some 
chroniclers say that this king had only three 
daughters. This assertion, which is only found in 
one manuscript, may be translated thus — 

* See MS. Leabhar-na-h-Uidhre, in the Library of the Eoyal j" 
Irish Academy. 

f The ancient name of a ford near Mullingar, 


Three daiigliters had King Eochaidh Feidlech, 

Loud swells their fame, 
Ethni the Proud, and Meave of Cruachain,* 

And fair Clothra. 

But of all the children of Eochaidh, by far tlie 
most celebrated was Mcave. From her early 
youth she had exhibited remarkable traits of 
strength of mind and vigour of character. Doubt- 
less these quaHties influenced her father in his 
selection, and election, of her as Queen of Con- 
naught, for she had not even the right of seniority, 
being the third sister. 

In the pride of her youth and beauty Mcave was 
married to Conor, the celebrated provincial kmg 
of Ulster,! but tlio marriage did not [)rovo a hnpj)y 
one, and she soon left her husband and returned 
to her father's court. Here, we are told, she lived 
as before her ill-assorted union, until her father, 
who at this time elected her Queen of Connaught, 
further consolidated her power, and his own, by 
marrying her to Ailill, a powerful chief of that 
province. Tliis second husband, and her father 
Eochaidh, died shortly after the marriage; and 

* The remains of the Rath of Cruachain are still to be seen near 
Car rick-on- Shannon, in the modern county of lloscoramon. 

f Another account says that Conor proposed for Mcave, who 
refused him, thereby incurring his implacable hatred. lie then 
obtained the hand of her sister, Eitliue, who became the mother of 
the celebrated Forbaide. 



much about the same time. Twice had Mcave 
married for poUtical reasons, and now, finding her- 
self a young widow and an independent Queen, she 
determined to please herself in her selection of 
another husband. 

lioss-lluadh was at this time King of Leinster, 
with a family of seven sons, whom, as we gather 
indirectly, he found it rather difficult to manage, 
much less to provide for. At this period the 
kings of Leinster held their courts at the royal 
])alace of Naas ; and it may well be imagined the 
state of connnotion into wliich the royal houscliold 
must have been thrown one day by the arrival of 
Queen Meave's heralds m their " yellow silken 
shirts, and grass-green mantles." Demanding an 
audience of Iioss-E,uadh, they informed him that 
their Queen was on a royal progress through 
Ireland in searcli of a husband, and that slic 
would stay for a short time at the court of Koss- 

The wealthy widow was hospitably received and 
royally entertained ; and she went no further than 
Naas in quest of a king-consort. According to 
the chronicles, she had been rather bullied by her 
two previous husbands ; and, probably with a view 
of retaliating upon the sex, she selected the 
youngest son of Iloss-Ptuadh, a pretty boy of 
seventeen, and exactly sixteen years younger than 


herself. Ailill — for his name chanced to be the 
same as that of her second husband — seems to 
have been all through Hfe a rather characterless 
sort of person. He does not appear ever to have 
given the beautiful and high-sj)irited Queen 
Meave any assistance in the government of her 
kingdom. It is quite j^ossible she would have 
objected to any interference upon his side, and 
have treated his suggestions with contempt ; for 
there is an unmistakable tone of ironical humour 
in the way in which the old chroniclers speak of 
the relations between Ailill and Mcave, and of the 
presents with which she endowed liim. The 
writers of these records were too good courtiers to 
assort broadly the plain state of tlio case, which 
seems to liave been, that tlie wealthy widow of 
thirty-four fell m love with a j)retty weak-headed 
boy, married him, and petted him. 

Nevertheless, all historians agree m saying that 
the marriage was apparently a happy one. Pro- 
bably the reason may have been that one will was 
supreme, and that will was Queen Meave's. She 
ultunately became the mother of several sons and 
two daughters, named Findabhau' and Lindabar. 
One of the latter plays no unimportant part in the 
expedition celebrated in the Tdin-Bo-Cliuailgnc, or 
" The Cattle Spoil of Cuailgne" — the great event 
of this Queen's reign. 

c 2 


" Did I not honour thee above thy fellows in 
maldng thee my husband, and thou but a younger 
son of the King of Leinster ? Did I not present 
thee with twelve suits of robes ; a chariot worth 
three times seven cumals ;* the breadth of thy 
face of red gold;t and a bracelet of FindruineJ to 
fit thy left wrist !" 

The speaker was Meave, Queen of Connaught ; 
the one addressed was her third husband, Ailill ; 
and the scene of the controversy was the con- 
jugal couch. It was scarcely a generous, queenly 
thing for Queen Mcavo to twit her husband witli 
the benefits which she had, of her own accord, 
heaped upon him. But these were rude, primitive 
times, and the grand art of dissembling words and 
feelings was not then considered the whole duty 
of man or woman. Repression is the outcome of 

The Queen and her King-consort were having a 
dispute respecting the amount of their respective 
wealth and treasures. Mdave must have been 
lavish of her gifts to Ailill, for they found it 
difficult to decide which had the most ; and, in 
order to come to a satisfactory conclusion, they 

* Sixty-three cows. 
f Doiibtless one of those deep crescents of red gold, of which 
there are some magnificent si^ccimens preserved in tho Museum of 
the Royal Irish Academy. 

J Carved white metal, probably silver bronze. 


were obliged to liave recourse to an actual com- 
parison of the kind and extent of their several 

The following account of this enumeration of 
their respective treasures, and the unforeseen re- 
sults of this inquiry, are condensed and taken 
from the Tdin-Bo-Chuailgne, or t\\Q " Cattle-8poil 
of Cuailgne," the oldest and most remarkable of 
the ancient Irish heroic tales. This chronicle is 
of inestimable value ; for, notwithstandmg the 
halo of romance which undoubtedly surrounds the 
whole story, yet the chief actors in the expedition 
are all well known and undoubted historical charac- 
ters, and are to be met with, not only in the ancient 
Jiei'oic tnlcs, but also iji tlio authentic annals. 

As the result of the pillow-controversy just re- 
ferred to, between Queen Mcave and Aiiill, we are 
told in the Tdin-Bo-Chuailgne — 

" There were compared before them all their 
wooden and their metal vessels of value ; and they 
were found to be equal There were brought to 
them tliek finger-rings, their clasps, their brace- 
lets, their thumb-rings, their diadems, and their 
gorgets of gold ; and they were found to be equal. 
There Avere brought to them their garments of 
crimson and blue, and black and green, and yel- 
low and mottled, and white and streaked ; and 
they were fomid to be equal. There were brought 


before them their great flocks of sheep, from greens 
and lawns and plains ; and they were found to be 
equal. There were brought before them their steeds 
and their studs, from pastures and from fields ; 
and they were found to be equal. There were 
brought before them their great herds of swine, 
from forests, from deep glens, and from solitudes ; 
their herds and their droves of cows were brought 
before them, from the forests and most re- 
mote solitudes of the province ; and, on counting 
and comparing them, they were found to be equal 
in imml)cr and excellence. Bub thoi'e was found 
among Ailill's herds a young bull, which had been 
calved by one of Mcave's cows, and which" — as 
the chronicle gravely informs us — " not deeming 
it honourable to be under a woman's control, 
went over and attached himself to Ailill's herds. 

" The name of this reinai'kablo aninial was 
Flnnbheannach, or the * White-homed,' and it was 
found that the Queen had not among her herds 
one to match him. This was a matter of deep dis- 
appointment to her. She immediately summoned 
to her presence MacE,oth, her chief courier, and 
demanded of him if he knew where a young bull 
to match the Finnhheannach could be found among 
the five provinces of Erinn. 

" MacRoth answered, that he knew where there 
was a better and a finer bull — namely, in the pos- 


session of Dare, son of Faclitna, in the Cantred of 
Cuailgne, and province of Ulster ; and that his 
name was the Dojvi Chuailgne, or Brown Bull of 


" ' Go thou, then,' said M6ave, ' with a request 
to Dare from me, for the loan of the Donn Cliuailgne 
for my herds for one year. Tell him that he shall 
be well repaid for his loan ; that he shall receive 
fifty heifers, and the Donn Chuailgne back at the 
expiration of that time. And you may make an- 
other proposition to him,' continued the Queen — 
'namely, that should the people of the district 
object to his lending us the Donn Chuailgne, he 
may come himself with his bull, and that he shall 
have the full extent of liis own territory given hnn 
of the best land in ]\,^' a chariot worth 
thrice seven cumals {sixty-three cows), and my 
future friendship.' 

"The courier set out with a company of nine 
subordinates, and in due time arrived in Cuailgne 
and delivered his message to Dar6 Mac-Fiachna, 
who received him hospitably. On learning Mac- 
Eotli's errand, he at once agreed to accept the 
terms; and then sent the courier and his cona- 
panions into a distant part of his establishment, 
furnishing them abundantly with the best of food 
and drink. 

* Plains of Roscommon. 


" In the course of the night, when deep in their 
cups, one of the Connaught couriers said to another, 
' It is a truth that the man of this house is a 
good man, and it is very good of him to grant to 
us, nine messengers, what it would be a great 
work for the other four great provinces of Erinn 
to take by force — namely, the Donn Chuailgne.* 
Then a third courier interposed, and said that little 
thanks were due to Dare, because if he had not 
consented freely to give the Donn Chuailgne, he 
should be compelled to do so. 

*' At this moment, Dar6 s chief steward, accom- 
panied by a man laden with food and another with 
di'ink, entered, and overhearing the vaunt of the 
third courier, flew into a passion, and cast down 
their meat and drink before them, without invi- 
ting them to partake of it. 

"They then went and told their master, and 
Dare swore by his gods that Meave should not 
have the Donn Chuailgne^ either by consent or by 

According to the chronicle, the refusal of Dare 
so exasperated Meave, that she gathered together 
her forces and declared war agfainst him. Her 
army was divided into three parties, whose ap- 
pearances are best described in the words of the 
original chronicle : — 

"The first party came with uncut hair; they 


wore green cloaks, with silver brooches ; the shirts 
which they wore next their skin were interwoven 
with thread of gold. The second company had 
closely cut hair, hght grey cloaks, and pure white 
shhts next their skin. The thhd and last party 
had broad cut, fair yellow, golden loose flowing 
hair upon them ; they wore crimson embroidered 
cloaks, with stone set brooches over their breasts 
(in the cloaks), and line long silken shirts falhng to 
the insteps of their feet." 

It would be tedious to recount the minute 
descriptions of the dress and ornaments of the 
various Irish clans, as recorded in the manuscript. 
He who runs may read, if he have sufilcient 
patience ; and now wc pass on to the actual story 
of the Donn ChuailgnS. 

" The forces of Dare and Meave met at Crua- 
chain, and after consulting her Druid and a Bean- 
sidhe"' who appeared to her, Meave and her troops 
crossed the Shannon at Atlilone, and encamped at 
Kells. She was accomi)anied by AUill and their 
daughter i^mc/a^AaeV, or 'The Fair-browed.' When 
they had encamped for the night, the Queen 
invited all the leaders of the army to feast with 
her, and in the course of the evening contrived to 

* The " Banshee" of more recent times. Literally it means " a 
woman of the fairy mansions." 


enter into a private conversation with each of the 
bravest and most powerful amongst them, exhorting 
them to valour and fidelity in her cause, and 
secretly promising to each the hand of her beauti- 
ful daughter in marriage. After a fierce battle, 
Mcavo succeeded in captiu'ing the Donn ChuaiUjni'^ 
and in bearing him in triumph to her own country." 
This wild tale further gravely informs us that — 
"When the Donn Chuailgne found himself in a 
strange territory and among strange herds, he 
raised such a loud bellowing as had never before 
been lieard in the province of Conuacht ; tliat on 
hearing these unusual sounds, Ailill's bull, the 
Finnbheannachj or ' White-horned,' knew that 
some strange and formidable foe had entered into 
his territory, and that he immediately advanced 
at full speed to the point from which they issued, 
where he soon arrived in the presence of his noble 
enemy. The sight of each other was the signal for 
battle. In the poetic language of the tale, the 
province rang with the echoes of their roaring ; 
the sky was darkened by the sods of earth they 
threw up with their feet and the foam that flew 
from their mouth. Faint-hearted men, women, 
and children hid themselves in caves, caverns, and 
clefts of the rocks ; whilst even the most veteran 
warriors b\it dared to view the combat from tlie 
neighbouring hills and eminences. The Finnbhean- 


nach, or ' White-homed,' at length gave way, and 
retreated towards a certain pass opening into 
the plain where the battle raged. The Donn 
Chuailgne, at last coming up with his opponent, 
raised him on his horns, ran off with him, passed 
the gates of Mcave's palace, tossing and shaking 
him as he went, until at last he shattered him to 
pieces, dropping tlie disjointed members as he 
went along. And wherever a part fell, that place 
retained the name of that joint ever after. And 
thus it was (we are told) that Ath Luain* whicli 
was before called Ath Mdr, or the Great Ford, 
received its present name from the Finnhhean- 
naclis Luain, or ' loin,' having been dropped 

" Tlio i)(9?i?i Chuailgivi, after having shaken liis 
enemy m this manner from his horns, returned 
into his own country. He was in such a frenzied 
state of excitement and fury that all fled every- 
where at his approach. He faced directly to liis 
old home, but the people of the hailc, or hamlet, 
fled, and hid themselves behind a huge mass of 
rock. His madness transformed this obstacle into 
the shape of another buU, so that, coming witli all 
his force agamst it, he dashed out his brains and 
was killed." 

* The modern Athlone. — Joyce. 


The foreo^oiiiff is a brief sketch of the most 
remarkable tale in Irish language. It is espe- 
cially valuable, inasmuch as it gives innumerable 
instances of perhaps every occurrence which could 
be supposed to happen in ancient Irish social and 
political life. It is a minute epitome of the age 
in which it was written, giving, as it does, many 
descriptive details of the manners and customs of 
the people, of the druidical and fairy influence 
supposed to be exercised in the affairs of men ; 
of the laws of Irish chivalry and honour ; of the 
standards of beauty, morality, valour, truth, and 
fidelity of the Irish of old ; of the regal power 
and dignity of the monarch and provincial kings. 
There is also to be learned from it much concern- 
ing the division of the country into its local 
dependencies, lists of its chieftains and chief- 
taincies, many valuable topographical details, the 
names and kinds of dress and ornament, of mili- 
tary weapons and musical instruments used by the 
army ;* of leechcraft, and of medicinal plants and 
springs. All these are of inestimable value to 
the student of histoiy, even though mixed up 
with much of the marvellous. 

" Queen Mab," a dame of credit and renown in 
Faery-land, is supposed to have been none other 

* Strange to say, there is no mention whatever of " truvipets." 


originally than this famous Amazonian Queen of 
Connaught. It is certain that the bards of her 
time, in celebrating her beauty and fascinations, 
have ridiculously idealised her, and have reduced 
her, physically, to the most fairy-like proportions. 
Much of the faery lore to be found m Spenser's 
"Faery Queen," is well known to have been 
gathered m Ireland during the poet's residence in 
Kilcolman Castle, County of Cork, where this won- 
drous poem was chiefly wiitten ; and comparative 
research has identified his herome with the Queen 
of Connaught. 

The character must have been a favourite one 
at this period, for we find Shakspeare, in " Romeo 
and Juliet," saying — 

0, tlien, I sec, Queen Mab lias been witli you. 
She 13 tbo fairies' midwife. 

Tliis last line as often read, " The fancy's mid- 
wife," does not mean the midwife to the fairies, but 
merely the power m faery-land, whose business it 
was to deliver the fancies of sleepers of their 
dreams, those cliildren of an idle brain. 

Moreover, the name " Meave," or " Medbh," as 
it was commonly spelt, suggests the more familiar 
cognomen of "Mab." The " e" in "Medbh" 
(which is the old spelling) was pronounced very 
broadly (something like the middle letter in the 
word "say"), and the " d" and the "h" being 


suppressed by the aspirate, the phonetic spelhng 
would be " Mab," or " Meb." 

According to the annals of the Four Masters, 
Queen Meave lived to the great age of one hundred 
and twenty, surviving her husband Ailill seven 
years, and dying in the seventieth year of tlie 
Christian era. Even then she did not die a 
natural death, but was slain by the son of Con- 
chobar, one of her most inveterate enemies. The 
following is Keating's translation of " The death 
of Mebh of Cruachain" : — 

" WJicn Ailill had been slain by Conrach Koa- 
ruach, Mebh went to dwell at Inis-Clothram, on 
Loch E/ibh, and during her residence there it was 
her wont to take a bath every morning in a spring 
that lay near the entrance to the island. When 
Forbaide, son of Conchobar, had heard this, he 
came privately to the spring, and measured with 
a line the distance thence to the other side of the 
lake. He then brought the measure with him 
into Ulster, and there he used to thrust two stakes 
into the ground, and to each of them he fastened 
an end of the line. He then used to place an 
apple on the point of one of the stakes, and stand- 
ing himself at the other he made constant practice 
of throwing at the apple on the opposite one, until 
he succeeded in hitting it. This exercise ho prac- 
tised continually, until he became so dexterous 


that lie never missed a single throw at the apple. 
Shortly after this there was a meeting of the 
people of Ulster and Connanght, on both sides of 
the Shannon, at Inis-Clothram, and Furbaide 
came thither from the east in the assemblage of 
the Ulster men ; and one morning whilst he stayed 
there he saw Mebh bathing, as usual, in the veiy 
same spring. He thereupon instantly placed a 
stone m his shng, and havmg cast it, he hit her 
full on the forehead and she instantly died, having 
then enjoyed the kingdom of Connacht for ninety- 
eight years."* 

The political character of Queen Meave far out- 
shines her private reputation. Of the latter, there 
arc many dolails given Lo which wo liavc as iiuich 
right to accord credence as to any other recorded 
chcmnstance of her long and eventful reign. But 
it is unnecessary to recount them, as they have had 
no bearmg upon the important affairs of the period, 
at least not as far as we know. The famous 
expedition recorded in the Tdin-Bo-Cliuailgnc is 
the chief feature of the period, and is well worthy 
of the attention of the poet, the philoso] >her, and 
the historian. This Historic Tale is to Celtic His- 
tory what the myth of the Argonautic Expedition, 
or of the Seven against Thebes, is to Grecian. 

Yidc Keatiug, pp. 27G-77. 


In Miss Cusack's "History of Ireland," she' 
says : — 

"The following passage is taken from 'The 
Book of Ballymott,' and is supposed to be taken 
from the Synchronisms of Flann of Monaster- 
boice : — ' In the fourteenth year of the reign of 
Conaird and of Conchobar, Mary was born, and 
in the fourth year after the birth of Mary, the 
expedition of the Tdin-B6-Chuailgne took place. 
Eight years after the expedition of the Tain, 
Christ was bom.'" 


Born a.d. 439. Died a.d. 525. 

jAINT BRIGHITT, or Brigliid, or Breeyitli, 

,j^j^^ or Bride, or Bridget, or Brigit, as her 

name has been at various periods 

AngUcised, was descended from the illustrious 

family of the Fotharda, of Leinster. 

Her genealogy is thus given in the bardic 
senchas : 

Brigliili waa llio (liuij,'1itor of Dublliacli Donn. 
Sou of Dremui, son of Brcsal of smooth, hair, 
Sou of DIan, son of Conula, sou of Art, 
Sou of Carbri Niadh, sou of Cormac, 
Son of Aengus Mor, of high esteem, 
Sou of Eocaidh Finn, whom Art detested, 
Son of wise Feidlimidh the Legal, 
The glorious Tuathal Tectmar's son. 

Divesting her of the supernatural gifts attri- 
buted to her, and trying to sift the truth from 
the many absurd stories related concerning her, 
Saint Brigit stands forth a great and good woman. 
In an age when the position of her sex was a sub- 
ordinate one intellectually, she accomplished a 
work which, considering the disposition of the 
times, may well have been considered, in that age, 

VOL. I. D 


as almost superhuman. Of her learning, her 
blameless life, and her wise judgment, there can be 
no question : and in such reverence was she held, 
that to swear by her name was considered the most 
solemn oath. 

There were fifteen saints of the name of Brigit ; 
the most famous of whom, and the first of the name, 
was the subject of this memoir. She was the 
daughter of the Leinster man, Dubthach, who 
was descended from Eochaidh Finn Fuathairt, 
brother of the renowned Conn of the Hundred 
Battles. From this colcbralod chieftain is also 
lineally descended her Most Gracious Majesty 
Queen Victoria. 

About the middle of the fourth century after 
Christ, much religious enthusiasm was stirred up 
upon the Continent by the institution of female 
monasteries, or nunneries, by Melanie, a pious 
woman of noble birth. The fame of her piety and 
p-ood deeds, and of those of her followers and sue- 
cessors, spread even to Ireland, and quickened into 
life the seeds of Christianity sown by Saint 
Patrick. Following the example of Melanie, Saint 
Brigit instituted a religious order for women, 
which rapidly spread its branches through every 
part of the country. She took religious vows at a 
very early age, when, as we are told, "she was 
clothed in the white garment, and the white veil 


placed upon her head." Seven or eight other young 
noble maidens immediately took the same step, 
and, attaching themselves to her fortunes, formed, 
at tlie first, Iier small religious community. The 
pure sanctity of this virgin's life, and the super- 
natural gifts attributed to her, spread the fame 
she had already acquired every day, and crowds of 
young women and widows applied for admission 
into her institution. At first she contented her- 
self with foundino; establishments for her followers 
in the resj)ective districts of which they were 
natives. However, the increasing number of those 
who were immediately under her personal super- 
intendence, rendered it necessary that she should 
form one great central establishment over which 
she should herself preside. The people of Leinster 
were " her own people" — that phrase so dear to the 
Irish heart in all ages ! — and, therefore, amongst 
them she decided to take up her permanent abode. 
Accordingly, slie chose a site for her monastery 
in the midst of the green undulating pastures of 
Leinster. The name of the place was called Cill- 
Dara, or the Cell of the Oak, from a very high oak- 
tree which grew near the spot, and the trunk of 
which was still remaining in the twelfth century, 
" no one daring to touch it with a knife. "^ The 

* Giraldus Cambrensis. 
D 2 


extraordinary veneration in wliicli Saint Brigit was 
held, caused such a resort of pilgrims of all ranks 
to the place — such crowds of penitents and men- 
dicants, that a new town* sprang up rapidly 
aroimd her, which kept pace with the growing 
prosperity of tlie establishment. 

The selection of this particular site for her mo- 
nastery, or nunnery, is an instance of the wise 
judgment for which Saint Brigit was remarkable. 
Druidism had not yet been swept away from the 
land, and the old, venerable oak must have been, in 
the minds of t1io mnjority, invested with a peculiar 
solemnity. Therefore it was a wise policy of hers 
not to ride roughshod over ancient prejudices, but 
to try and convert to the purposes of Christianity 
those forms and usages which had so long been 
made to serve as instruments of error. Mention is 
made of the holy fire, which was always kept burn- 
ing upon the altar, and which was clearly a relic of 
Pagan times ; for the Druidesses preserved from 
remotest ages an inextinguishable fire. It is very 
likely that Saint Brigit, in her anxiety to con- 
ciliate the masses, and also from her simple Chris- 
tian desire not to offend, permitted the fire to be 
continued, biit made it emblematical of an article 
of the new or Christian faith. It is well known 

* The modem town of Kildare. 


that in earlier ages Saint Patrick engrafted Chris- 
tian festivals upon Pagan ones. Indeed, all Irish 
religious festivals have more or less an element of 
Paganism mixed up with them ; this is quite 
patent to any observant person who has lived 
amongst the Irish peasantry, and who is conver- 
sant with their habits and customs. 

Giraldus Cambrensis, who lived six hundred 
years later than Saint Brigit, thus refers to the 
sacred fire of CiU-Dara : — 

"At Kildare, in Leinster, celebrated for the 
glorious Brigit, many miracles have been wrought 
worthy of memory. Among these the first that 
occurs is the fire of Saint Brigit, which is reported 
never to go out ; not that it cannot be extinguislicd, 
but the nuns and holy women tend and feed it, 
adding fuel with such watchful and diligent care, 
that from the time of the Virgin* it has continued 
burning through a long course of years ; and 
althougli such heaps of wood liave been consumed 
during this long period, there has been no accumu- 
lation of ashes. 

" As in the time of Saint Brigit, twenty nuns 
were there engaged in the Lord's warfare, she 
herself being the twentieth. After her glorious 
departure, nineteen have always formed the society, 

* i.e., Saint Bridget. 


the number having never been increased. Each of 
them has the care of the fire for a single night in 
turn, and on the evening before the twentieth 
night, the last nun, having heaped wood upon the 
fire, says : — ' Brigit, take charge of your own fire, 
for this night belongs to you.' She then leaves 
the fire, and in the morning it is found that the 
fire has not gone out, and that the usual quantity 
of fuel has been used. 

" This fire is surrounded by a hedge made of 
stakes and brushwood, and forming a circle within 
which no man can enter ; and if any one should 
presume to enter, which has sometimes been 
attempted by rash men, he will not escape the 
divine vengeance. Moreover, it is only lawful for 
women to blow the fire, fanning it, or using bellows 
only, and not with their breath." 

Henry de Londres, Archbishop of Dublin, con- 
sidering this fire a remnant of Pagan superstition, 
caused it to be extinguished in 1220, but it was 
afterwards renewed, and continued until the sup- 
pression of the monasteries by Henry VIII. 

Giraldus also gives an account of the illumina- 
tions said to have been executed by Saint Brigit 
and her nuns. He particularly mentions one ma- 
nuscript said to have been written by the Abbess 
herself, at the dictation of an angel. It contained 
the Four Gospels according to Saint Jerome, and 


every page was richly illuminated with a variety of 
brilliant colours. Judging from the description 
given, the book may well have been supposed to 
have been miraculously written, amongst a people 
so little conversant with art as the mass of the 
Irish of that age. ** The Book of Kildare," as it 
was called, is unfortunately lost, but there is pre- 
served in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, 
an early copy of the Gospels, called "The Book of 
Kells," which, for the beauty and splendour of its 
caligraphy and illummations, is not surpassed by 
any of its age that is known to exist. " Indeed," 
says the late Dr. Petrie, ** on looking at this ex- 
quisite piece of workmanship, it is difficult to avoid 
thinking tlia.t it is the very manuscript so elabo- 
rately described by Giraldus." 

The fame of Saint Brigit's sanctity spread wher- 
ever the Christian religion was recognised. Saint 
Ailbe of Emly — one of the fathers of the Irish 
Church — used to visit her. The ancient Welsh 
author, Gildas, was one of her intimate friends, 
and is said to have sent to Saint Brigit a small 
bell cast by himself In that age, small portable 
bells were commonly interchanged between eccle- 
siastics as tokens of regard. They were looked 
ujion with especial veneration ; and the chronicler, 
Colgan, says, that the tolling of the sacred bell of 
Saint Patrick was a preservative against evil 


spirits and magicians, and could be heard from the 
Giant's Causeway to Cape Clear — from the Hill of 
Howth to the western shores of Connemara ! The 
Hebrides, or Ey-Brides, i.e., "The Isles of Brigit," 
were called after her, and dispute with Ireland the 
honour of possessing her remains. But, according 
to Giraldus Cambrensis, she died at Kildare, and 
was buried there also. 

By one of those violations of chronology so often 
hazarded for the sake of bringing illustrio\is per- 
sonages together, a friendship is supposed to have 
existed between Saint Brigit and Saint Patrick. 
But the dates are inconsistent. It is just possible 
she may have seen the Apostle of Ireland when 
she was a child, for she must have been about 
twelve years of age when he died. Tradition goes 
as far as to say that she wore, at his especial 
request, the shroud in wliich he was buried. But 
there is no reliance to be placed upon this story, 
any more than upon the legend of " Saint Brigit's 
Shawl" — which merits a place in this memoir, 
inasmuch as that it is one of the chief tales in the 
folk-lore of Leinster. The story runs as follows : — 

" Saint Brigit, when young, was very beautifvd, 
and, as a natural result, had many admirers. But 
she had early vowed herself to the service of God, 
and paid no attention to her would-be lovers. In 
order to get rid of them altogether, she prayed 


for some disease that might destroy her beauty. 
Her prayers were answered, for she was smitten 
with small-pox, which utterly disfigured one side 
of her face, leaving the other as beautiful as 

" Some time after she had taken the veil, finding 
her followers become very numerous, she applied to 
the then King of Leinster for a small piece of land 
upon which to build a nunnery. She went to 
entreat this favour in person, and the king, who 
saw only the beautiful side of her face, was so cap- 
tivated with her, that he at once granted her 
request. The story goes on to say that the queen, 
who was old and very ugly, became jealous of Saint 
Brigit, and before tlic interview was over managed 
that the Icing should see the other side of Brigit's 
face. This so annoyed and disenchanted him, that 
he at once revoked his promise. Saint Brigit 
prayed of him to hold to his former decision, but 
he was deaf to all her entreaties ; however, he 
at loiiglli agreed to give her as much land as her 
shawl would cover. 

" Six months passed away, and then Brigit 
came to claim the promised ' bit of land.' In the 
presence of the king, the queen, and the assembled 
court, Saint Brigit took off her shawl in order to 
measure the ground. But what was the dismay 
and amazement of the king when he saw her give 


a corner to each of four of her nuns, who ran north, 
south, east, and west ! The shawl — which Saint 
Brigit had herself spun during the six months 
which had intervened — was of some web-like sub- 
stance, and gradually unfolded until it covered 
what is now the Curragh of Kildare, and which 
she claimed in fulfilment of the king's promise." 

So runs the legend, as it is often told by many a 
fireside in Leinster. Speaking of the Abbey of 
Cill-Bara, Giraldus Cambrensis says : — 

"In this neighbourhood there are some very 
beautiful meadows called Saint Brigit's pastures, 
in which no plough is ever suflered to turn a 
furrow. BesjDccting these meadows it is held as 
a miracle that, although all the cattle in the pro- 
vince should graze the herbage from morning till 
night, the next day the grass would be as luxu- 
riant as ever. It may be said, indeed, of them : 

Et quantum longis carpunt armenta diebus, 
Exigua tantum gelidus ros nocte reponit."* 

Saint Brigit died, full of years and honour, on 
the first day of February, a.d, 525, in the seventy- 
fifth year of her age, and four years after the birth 
of Columbkille. A remarkable and a good woman 

* " Cropt in the summer's day by herds, the dew's 
Eefreshing moisture verdure still renews." 

ViKGiL, Georg., ii. 201-2. 



to have lived during any age ; her character and 
her good deeds stand forth all the more pre-emi- 
nently, with the rude times during which she 
lived as a background for them, and her memory 
is well worthy of the pious veneration in which it 
is justly held. 




The Helkn of Ireland. 
A.D. 1152. 

EFOBE recording the few meagre details 
to be gathered respecting Eva, the wife 
of Earl Strongbow, some brief memoir is 
necessary respecting the fair and frail Princess of 

In 1066, William the Norman had invaded and 
conquered England. More than one hundred 
years had passed away since that date, yet the 
Norman conquest of Ireland remained imattempted. 
Tlirec kings of the race had ruled li^ngland, and as 
yet no Norman knight had set foot upon Irish soil. 

At length they came, and the story of their 
coming begins with just such a domestic drama as 
Homer had turned into an epic two thousand 
years ago. Had Helen never been stolen, the 
Iliad would never have been written ; and, in all 
probability, had not the Princess of Breffny fled 
from her lawful husband to her unlawful lover, 
Ireland would not so early have lost standing as 
an independent kingdom. 


Dearbliforguill — or Dervorgil, as she is more 
commonly called — was the daughter of Mortough 
MacFloinn, King of Meath. She was early mar- 
ried to Tiegernach O'llourke, Prince of BreiTny ; 
but the marriage, notwithstanduig Thomas Moore's 
pathetic ballad anent the despair of the bereaved 
husband, does not seem ever to have been a hapj^y 
one, or one in accordance with the wishes of the 
lady. With the exception of Roderick O'Connor, 
the Ard-ri(jh, or chief king of Ireland, tlie most 
powerful monarch of the provincial kings was 
Dermot, King of Leinster. Giraldus Cambrensis 
says he was *' a tall man of stature, of a large and 
great body, a valiant and bold warrior, and, by 
reason of liis conLiiuied Imllooing, his voice was 
hoarse. He rather chose to be feared than to be 
loved. Plough and generous, hateful unto strangers, 
he would be against aU men, and all men against 
him." Such was the man for whom the beautiful 
Princess of Breffny conceived so overwhelming a 
love. Tlicy carried on a private corrospondcnco 
for some time, and at length the faithless wife 
contrived to let her lover know that her husband 
was about to set out on a pilgrimage (an act of 
piety frequent in those days), and conjured Der- 
mot to seize upon the opportunity, and to come 
and carry her away. 

Although Dervorgil made tliis proposal — one 


which Dermot but too readily embraced — she had 
not the courage to fly to her lover and to defy the 
world. Artifice was again resorted to, in order to 
try and make her crime appear the less ; so that 
when Dermot, King of Leinster, came with an 
armed band of followers, and appeared to ])ear off 
the Princess of Breflhy by force, she shrieked for 
help, and was thus borne away, leaving upon the 
minds of her retainers the impression that their 
beautiful chieftainess had been basely taken off 
against her will. No better evidence of her con- 
nivance can bo deduced, than the fact that slie 
took away with her the cattle which formed her 

Such was the story which O'Rourke was told 
upon his return from his pilgrimage. He was 
goaded to madness at this insult to himself and to 
his house. He knew tliat Dermot was a most 
powerful prince, and that were he (O'Rourke) to 
bring his small band of retainers against the King 
of Leinster 's numerous kerns and galloglasses, that 
he would soon be ignominiously routed and de- 
feated. In his distress he applied to Koderick 
O'Connor, the supreme King of Ireland. The 
latter summoned together all the provincial kings 
and chieftains of the land, and in solemn conclave 
they voted that the outrage be considered as a 
national grievance, and agreed to help O'Eourke 


in liis raid against the crowned seducer, Dermot, 
King of Leinster. 

Not expecting to find all Ireland, save his own 
immediate territory, leagued against him, Dermot 
was reduced to desperate straits. In his distress, 
he formed an alliance with the Danes of Dublin — 
the abhorred of his countrymen, but the only allies 
he could find in his great need. A fierce battle was 
fought, in which Dermot was totally defeated, and 
taken prisoner. He was arraigned before the as- 
sembled kings of Ireland, with Hoderick O'Connor 
at their head, solemnly deposed, his prmcipality 
taken from him, and he himself banished the king- 

The guilty Dorvoi'gil was retaken and restored to 
lior injured husbiuid ; but he, having revenged him- 
self upon Dei'mot, refused to have anything more 
to say to his false wife. There is little more to be 
said concerning her. When her husband spurned 
her, she retired to the nunnery of Mellifont, where 
she lived as a penitent until her death, which, took 
place forty years afterwards. Whilst living at 
Mellifont, it is recorded that she "built a nunnery 
at Clonmacnoise, gave a chalice of gold to the 
altar of Mary, and cloth for nine altars of the 

" Such," says Giraldus Cambrensis, '' is the 
variable and fickle nature of women, by whom all 


the miscliiefs in the world (for the most part) do 
happen and come, as may appear by Marcus An- 
toniiis, and by the destruction of Troy. " 

The crime of Dervorgil and its disastrous con- 
sequences, overturned the whole monarchical system 
of Ireland. The recital of these results belongs to 
the story of Eva, daughter of Derraot, King of 
Leinster. There is some doubt as to the exact 
date of Dervorgil's abduction, but there is no 
question but that the latter was the immediate 
cause of the English invasion. 

Tlie following is Thomas Moore's ballad upon the 
subject of the abduction of Dervorgil : — 

Prince of Breffni. 

Tlie valley lay smiling before me, 

Wliero lately I loft hei" behind ; 
Yet I trembled, and eonictliing Imng o'er me. 

That sadden'd the joy of my mind. 
I looked for the lamp which, she told me, 

Should shine when her pilgrim return'd, 
But, though darkness began to infold me, 

No lamp from the battlements burn'd. 

I flew to her chamber — 'twas lonely, 

As if the lov'd tenant lay dead — 
Ah ! would it were death, and death only. 

But, no ; the young false one had fled ! 
And there hung the lute that could soften 

My very worst pains into bliss ; 
While the hand that had wak'd it so often 

Now throbb'd to a proud rival's kiss. 


There tvas a time, falsest of women ! 

When BrefFni's good sword would have sought 
That man, through a million of foemen, 

Who dared but to wrong thee in tliougU t 
Whilst now — oh ! degenerate daughter 

Of Erin, how fall'n is thy fame ! 
And through ages of bondage and slaxighter, 

Our country shall bleed for thy shame. 

Already the curse is upon her, 

And strangers her valleys profane ! 
They come to divide, to dislionour. 

And tyrants they long will remain. 
Put onward ! — the green banner rearing— 

Go, flesh every sword to the hilt ! 
On our side is Virtue aud Erin, 

On theirs is the Saxon and Guilt ! 

Pretty verses — full of smoothness and sweetness, 
but also full of tlic poet's customary pinclibcck 

VOL. I. E 


A.D. 1171. 

TIEN Dermot, deposed from liis kiii(;doni of 
Leinstcr, was Laiiislied from Ii-elaiid, lie 
crossed over to Wales, wltli the intention 
of seeking aid in helping him to recover his terri- 
tory. His resources in Ireland had all failed, for 
his allies, the Danes, who had held undisputed 
possession of Dublin for four hundred years pre- 
viously, had been completely routed by Roderick 
O'Connor and the confederate kings. He was 
tolerably successful in his search for help, for in 
about a year after his banishment Dermot returned 
to his native land at the head of a band of Welsh 

He landed near Dublin — some say at Howth or 
Clontarf — and marched at once to the city, hoping 
to find there some of his late allies, the Danes. 
But in this he was disappointed. He found Dublin 
well garrisoned by his former enemies, who gave 
liim immediate battle, routed him again, and 


further, seeing lie was in the possession of funds, 
obliged him to pay one hundred ounces of gold to 
O'Kourke, of BrefFny, as indemnification " for the 
wrong he had done him respecting his wife." Not 
content with this, Roderick O'Connor obliged him 
to give up his only son as a hostage, and a guaran- 
tee that he would not again attempt to recover his 

But whilst these treaties were being earned on, 
and Dermot was apparently acquiescing in them, 
the man could not help being true to his faithless 
nature, and whilst these arrangements were being 
made he was secretly soliciting English aid, and 
that not unsuccessfully. 

Again a banisliod man, i3crmot Avcnt oil' to 
France on this occasion, where was Plenry, King 
of England, who was then carrying on a series of 
skirmishes in that country, disturbances which can 
scarcely be dignified by the name of a war. To 
him the ex-King of Leinster applied for aid. But 
Henry II. wanted all his own troops, and could 
ill spare a single man. This Norman-English king 
was a crafty, aspiring, and ambitious monarch, who 
thought " the whole world was little enough for 
the dominion of one sovereign ;" so, with liis cus- 
tomary cautiousness, he listened to Dermot's story, 
in the hope that he might be able to utilise him in 
some way. 

E 2 


Henry had already set his eye upon Ireland, but 
he had no sufficient reason to attempt its invasion, 
and he was too politic to do so without some 
plausible excuse for it. 

Here was the opportunity thrown in his way ! 
But Henry was too diplomatic to let Dermot see 
that he was anxious to help him, or that he had 
any ulterior designs upon Ireland, So, with ap- 
parent indifference, he dismissed the Irish chief- 
tain, regretting his inability to render him any 
assistance, but giving him leave to enlist in his 
cause any of the Anglo-Norman noljles who might 
be willing to assist him. Dermot was disappointed, 
but not disheartened. He returned to Bristol, 
and there laid his case before Kichard, son of 
Gilbert, Earl of Pembroke, who agreed to render 
him help to try and regain his kingdom of 

This was in the year 1170. Earl Strongbow — 
as Bichard was called — and Dermot set sail with 
a numerous fleet, having no less an object in view 
than the conquest, not alone of Dormot's confiscated 
territory, but of all Ireland. They landed at 
Wexford, and when Dermot stepped on shore first, 
and then welcomed his illustrious allies, he httle 
thought that by his hand. 

The emerald gem of tlie Western world 
Was set in the crown of a stranger ! 


But alas ! This compact with the foreigners was 
sealed with his son's blood. No sooner did 
Koderick O'Connor hear of the landing of these 
Norman nobles* than he ordered Kavanagh, the son 
and hostage of King Dermot, to be put to death. 
Henceforth, a doom seemed to be on the male heirs 
of the line of Dermot as fatal as that which rested 
upon the house of Atrides ! 

The bribe oITered to Strongbow by Dermot was 
the hand of his daughter Evaf in marriage, with 
the whole kingdom of Leinster for her dowry. 
Waterford was at this time considered of equal im- 
portance with Dublin. It was in the possession of 
the Danes, and between them and the Normans 
there was a fierce battle foui^ht. The Normans 
were victorious. They captured the city, where 
Dermot established a mimic court in lleginald's 
Tower,! which yet stands upon the Quay. Here, 

* Two other young men of rank had joined the party ; they 
were the sons of the beautiful and infamous Nesta, once the 
niistress of Henry I., but now the wife of Gerald, Governor of 
Pembroke and Lord of Carew. The knights were Maurice 
Fitz-Gerald and Eobert Fitz-Stephen. Dermot had promised them 
the city of Wexford, and two cautreds of land as their reward. 

f " Eva" is the Norman rendering of the Irish female Christian 
name "Aeifi." 

X A few years ago, when visiting this curious and ancient 
Tower, I found it had been whitewashed and otherwise modernized. 
— E. 0. B. 


amongst the still reeking horrors of the Scacked and 
ruined city, was celebrated, in haste and confusion, 
the marriage of Kichard Strongbow, Earl of Pem- 
broke, with the Princess Eva : 

Sad Eva gazed 
All round tliat bridal field of blood, amazed, 
Spoused to new fortunes. 

Concerning the personal appearance of the bride, 
we are left in utter ignorance. Various historians 
speak of her as being very beautiful, but there is no 
record to show that she was so. Of the bride- 
groom, Giraldus Cambronsis says, "lie was ruddy, 
freckle-faced, grey-eyed, his face feminine, his neck 
little, yet of a high stature, ready with good words 
and gentle speeches." Upon the wedding day, 
news arrived that the Danes in the north had re- 
volted; so, leaving his bride in the care of a few 
trusty followers, he set out at the head of his 
troops, fought and won a battle at Dublin, and 
estabhshed the Norman power in that city. 

Strongbow did not live many years after his 
conquest of Dublin, where he and Eva resided in 
comparative peace. He died from the effects of a 
wound in his foot, which mortified, and he was 
buried in Christ Church, Dublin, where his monu- 
ment may yet be seen. It is the figure of a knight 
(recumbent) in armour, with the upper half of a 
female figure at his side. They both lie extended 


upon a block of stone about two feet bigh, and 
upon a slab in tbe wall above is the following in- 
scription : — 


Whether or not Eva died before or after her 
husband's death we have no means of ascertaining. 
But this we know, and purpose to demonstrate, 
tliat Eva, Princess of Lcinster in her own right, and 
Countess of Pembroke by marriage, can number 
amongst her descendants the present Queen of 

Eva and Strongbow had no male heir, and only 
one daughter, named Isabel. This gui was sole 
heiress of Leinstcr, and of her father's Welsh pos- 
sessions. She became the ward of Richard Coeur 
de Lion, who took her to his Court in LondoiL At 
an early age the king gave her in marriage to 
William Marshall, hereditary Earl Marshal of 
Enofland, and Earl of Pembroke and Lebister in 
right of his wife. They had five sons and five 
daughters. The five sons inherited the title in 


succession, and all died childless — tlie doom of 
Dermot's male posterity. 

The vast possessions were then divided between 
the five daughters, each of whom received a county 
for a dower. Carlow, Kilkenny, the Queen's 
County, Wexford, and Kildare were the five 
portions. Isabel, the second daughter, mamed the 
Earl of Gloucester, and her granddaughter — an 
Isabel also — was mother of the great Robert 
Bruce, who was therefore great-great-great-grand- 
son of Eva and Strongbow. Eva, the third daugh- 
ter, married the Lord de Breos, and fi-om a daugh- 
ter of hers, named Eva hkewise, descended Edward 
the Fourth, King of England. Through his 
granddaughter, Margaret, Queen of Scotland, 
daughter of Henry the Seventh, the present 
reigning family of England claim their right to 
the throne. Through two lines, therefore, her 
Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria can trace 
back her pedigree to Eva, the Irish princess. 

But yet more. Boderick O'Coimor, the last 
King of Ireland, who ended his life as a monk in 
the monastery of Cong, left no male heir. How- 
ever, he left a daughter, who married the Norman 
knight, Hugo de Lacy. They left two sons, "Walter 
and Hugh. The latter was created Earl of Ulster, 
and left an only daughter, his sole heiress. She 
married a De Burgo, and a daughter of theirs. 


named Ellen, became the wife of Hoberfc Bruce, 
King of Scotland. It is singular that the mother 
of llobert Bruce should have been descended from 
Eva, and his wife from King Boderick's daughter. 
Later on, the Princess Margery, the grand- 
daughter of Robert Bruce, married the Lord High 
Steward of Scotland, and through her the Stuarts 
claimed the crown. From this point it is easy to 
trace how the royal blood of the three kingdoms 
has amalgamated. Another descendant of the 
Earls of Ulster married Lionel, Duke of Clarence, 
son of Edward the Third, who, in right of his wife 
— who was an only child — became Earl of Ulster 
and Lord of Connaught, and these titles finally 
merged in tlio Englisli crown in tlio person of 
Edward the Fourth. From all these genealogies 
one fact may be clearly deduced — namely, that the 
present representative of the royal Irish races of 
Eva and Boderick, the lineal heiress of their rights, 
and the legitimate sovereign of Ireland by right of 
birth, is her present ]\Iost Gracious Mnjcsty Queen 




DiKD A.D. 1461. 

HE best woman of her time in Ireland." So 
says O'Cleary, in the Annals of the Four 
Masters, when mentioning Margaret O'Car- 
roll. She was the daughter of O' Carroll, and 
married, Cfirly in the T5th century, Calvncli O'Conor, 
chief of Olfally. She is commonly called " Mar- 
garet O'Carroll of Olfally," having retained her 
maiden name after her marriage, a not uncommon 
custom with our ancestresses ; indeed, in many 
country parts of Ireland, the custom is prevalent 
to this day. She must have boon a woman of 
remarkable spirit and capacity ; and when to these 
were united the virtue, benevolence, and piety 
which all chroniclers agree m ascribing to her, it 
is no wonder that they felt a pride in recording 
her good deeds. " She was the one woman that 
made most of preparing highways, and erectmg 

* Margaret tlie Hospitable. 


bridges, cliurches, and mass-books, and of all 
manner of things profitable to serve God and her 
soul." So wrote McFirbis, the last antiquary of 
Lecan, who was contemporary with Margaret 
O'Carroll, and from whose MSS. all authentic 
information concerning her must necessarily be 

But the two leading events of her life seem to 
have been her famous pilgrimage to the shrine of 
Saint James of Compostello, in Spain, and " the 
two invitations of Margaret O'Carroll," Of tliese 
events we will speak in tlio succession hi which 
they have been here named. 

In the year of our Lord 1445, there seems to 
have been a great religious revival in Ireland. 
The cause is not exactly known, but it is quite 
possible that it owed its origin to the fact that the 
monks took alarm at the signs of religious dis- 
content which were spreading rapidly over the 
Continent of Europe. However, setting aside all 
hypothesis upon the subject, the fact remains that 
in this year took place the great Irish pilgrimage 
" towards the citie of St. James, in Spain," when 
*' the goodlie companie" numbered the chiefs of the 
names of McDermott, McGeoghegan, O'Driscoll, 
several of the Munster Geraldines, Eveleen, wife of 
Pierce D' Alton, and a great number of otliers, 
" noble and ignoble." Chief amongst the noble 


pilgrims was "the adinii-able Margaret O'Carroll." 
The foUowmg poem, is founded upon a true inci- 
dent connected with this great Irish pilgrimage : — 


Of bards and beadsmen far and near hers was the name of names- 
The lad}" fair of Offally — the flower of Leinster dames — 
And she has joined the pilgrim host for the citie of St. James. 


It was Calvagh, Lord of OfFally, walked wretchedly apart 
Within his moated garden, with sorrow at his heart ; 
And now he vowed to heaven, aud now he cursed his fate- 
That ho had not forbidden that far journey ere too late. 


"Why did I not remember ?" — 'twas tluis ho wished in vain — 
"The many waves that roll between Monoma's cliffs and Spain? 
Why did I not remember how, filled with bitter hate, 
To waylay Christian pilgrims the Moorish pirates wait ?" 

He thought of Lady Margaret — so fair, so fond, so pure— 
A captive in the galley of some Christ-denying Moor ! 
He thought of all that might befall, until his sole intent 
Was to gallop to the eastward, and take the way she went ! 


The noon was dark, the bitter blast went sighingly along ; 

The sky hung low, aud, chilled to death, the warder's snatch of 

The limp flag 'round the flagstaff lay folded close and furled— 
And all was gloom aud solitude upon the outer world. 


A rush aa of a javelin- cast the startled chieftain heard — 
A glance — upon the castle-wall a carrier dove appeared ! 
A moment, and the courier had fluttered to his breast, 
And, panting, lay against his heart, low cooing and caressed ! 


There lay a little billet beneath the stranger's wing, 
Bound deftly to his body with a perfumed silken string ; 
By night and day, o'er sea and shore, the carrier had flown — 
For of God's ways so manifold each creature knows its own. 


He pressed the billet to his lips, he blessed it on his knees — 
"To my dear lord and husband: From Coiupostolla these — 
We have arrived in health and peace — thank God and good St. 

James !" — 
And underneath the simple lines, the lady's name of names. 


" Now blessings on thee, carrier dove !" the joyful Calva' cried, 
" In such a flight both heart and wing were surely sorely tried. 
True image of thy mistress dear, in mercy's errand bold, 
Thy cage shall hang in her own bower, and barred with good red 


" And ever on thee, while thine eyes shall open to the sun. 
White-handed girls shall wait and tend, my own undaunted one ! 
And when thou diest no hand but hers shall liiy thee in the grave : 
Bravo heart ! that bore her errand well across the stormy wave !" 

Irish hospitality has been famous in all ages, and 
in a land where it is looked upon as a sacred duty, 
Margaret 'Carroll stands forth as a noted example 
of an Irish hostess of that period. Evidently a 
woman of culture and refinement, she affected the 


society of learned men ; and her " Two Invitations" 
are thus described by Duald McFirbis, the anti- 
quary, who was one of the guests : — 

"a.d. 1451. A gratious yeare tliis yearc was, 
though the glory and solace of the Irish was sett, 
but the glory of Heaven was amplified and ex- 
tolled therein ; and although this is a yeare of 
grace (Jubilee) with the Homan Church, it is an un- 
gratious and unglorious yeare to all the Learned in 
Ireland, both philosophers, poets, guests, strangers, 
religious persons, souldiers, mendicant, or poore 
orders, and to all manner and sorts of the poore in 
Ireland, also for the general support of their main- 
tenance's decease, to wit, Margrett, daughter of 
'Hnidy 0'Ca.rol], King of Ely, O'Connor OUaly, 
Calwagh's wife, a woman tlia.t never refused any 
man in the world for anything that she might 
command, only besides" [recte^ except only) " her 
own body. It is she that twice in one yeare pro- 
claimed to and commonly invited (in the darke 
dayes of the yeare, to witt, on the feast day of 
* Da Sincheir — 2G March — in Killachy) all persons, 
both Irish and Scottish, or rather Albaines, to the 
general feasts of bestowing both meat and moneyes, 
with all manner of gifts, whereunto gathered to 
receive these gifts and matter of two thousand and 
seaven hundred persons, besides gamesters and 
poore men, as it was recorded in a Koll to that 



purpose, and that accompt was made thus, ut vide- 
mus, viz., the chief e kins of each family of the 
Learned Irish was by Gille-na-nsemh MacEgan's 
hand, tlie Chiefe Judg to 'Conor, written in the 
Boll, and his adherents and kinsmen, so that the 
aforesaid number of 2700 was listed in that HolI 
with the arts of Dan, or Boetry, musick, and an- 
tiquitie. And Moslm O'MoBlconry, one of the 
chiefe learned of Connaght, was the first written 
in that Boll, and fii'st payed and dieted, or sett to 
supper, and those of his name after him, and so 
forth every one as he was payed ho was written in 
that Boll, for feare of mistake, and sett down to 
eat afterwards. And Margerett on the garrotts 
of tlie greate church of Da Sinchell, clad in cloath 
of gold, her deerest friends about her, her clergy 
and judges too. Calwagh himself on horseback 
by the churche's outward side, to the end that all 
things might be done orderly, and each one served 
successively. And first of all she gave two 
chalices of gould as offerings that day on the Alter 
to God Almighty, and she also caused to nurse or 
foster too (two) young orphans. But so it was ; 
we never heard neither the like of that day nor 
comparable to its glory and solace. And she gave 
the second inviting proclamation (to every one that 
came not that day) on the feast of the Assump- 
tion of our Blessed Lady Mary in harvest, at or in 


tlie E-atte-Imayn,* and so we have been informed 
tliat the second day in Hatte-Imayn was nothing 
inferior to the first. " 

Thomas D'Arcy McGee has further immortahsed 
her name in the following poem, entitled 




The myriad shafts of the morning sun had routed the woodland 

And in the forest's green saloons danced the victorious rays ; 
Birds, like Brendans in the promised land, chanted matins to the 

And the larks sprung up with their chorus-broods from the yellow 

fields of corn. 
Tu cloth of gold, like a qiiocii now-como out of tho royal wood, 
On tlio round, jiroud, Avhite-walled rath Margaret O'CarroU stood : 
That day came guests to Rath Iniayn from afar from beyond the 

sea — 
Bards and Bretons of AJbyn and Erin — to feast in Ollaly ! 

With the Lady Margaret and her maidens comely to tho sight — 
Ah ! how their eyes will thrill the harps and hearts of men to-night ! 
And in their midst, like a pillar old, in a garden of roses, stands 
Gilla-n-noanh M'Egan, the Brehon of Offaly's lands : 
His sallow brow, like a vellum book, with mystic lines is traced. 
But his eye is as an arrow, and his form as a brow unbraced ; 
And he holds in his hand a book wherein he writes each learned 

And these were the men of lore who to the feast at Rath Imayn 


* Modern Rathangan, county Kaldare. 

r 2 



!Fir3t Marilyn O'Mulconry comes, Arch Brehon of the West, 
Who gives dominion to O'Connor on Carnfravich's crest ; 
And with Marhyn comes M'Firbiss, from Syrauley's hills afar, 
Whose learning shines, in Erris glens, like a lamp or a lofty star ; 
And O'Daly from Finvarra, renowned in Dan, appears. 
Whose fame, lite a circling oak, grows wider with his years; 
And with them is O'Clery, from Kilbarron's castled steep. 
Whose hearthstone covers the sea-bird's nest above the foamy deep. 


And lo ! where comes McCurtin, sweet singer of the south. 

And O'Broadin, with keen thoughts that swarm out of a honied 

mouth { 
And O'Doran, Leinstcr's upright judge, and MacNeogh, of tlie 

Whose tales can make December nights gayer than July days'; 
And Nial Dol O'Higgin, whose words of power can drain 
The life out of the heart he hates, and the reason from the brain ; 
And Cymric bards from Cymric vales to the poet tryst have come. 
And many a Scottish rhymer from his Caledonian home. 

The Calvagh at the outer gate, ho bids them welcome all, 

The Brehon meets them at the door and leads them uji the hall ; 

The lady on the dais sits amid her rich awards, 

Goblets and golden harps, and ancient books for studious bards ; 

For them in the green meadow-lands a thousand horses feed. 

And a golden bit and a gilded rein hangs in stall for every steed ; 

And the glorious eyes of Irish girls arc glancing 'round her too — 

Guerdons for which the poet-soul its noblest deeds can do. 


Over the fields of Erin war horns may blow to-day, 
Many a man in tower and town may don his war array ; 
Tlio mountain tops of Erin red alarm Ih-es may light. 
But no foot shall leave that hall of peace for the track of blood 
to-night ; 


To-morrow, as to-day, sliall rise in melody and peace, 
The ]\Iass be said, the cup be filled, nor the evening revels cease — - 
For Margaret, like Our Lady's self, unto the troubled land 
Brings quiet in her holy smile, and healing in her hand. 


It is not that her father is renowned thro' Innisfail ; 
It is not that her lord is hailed the sentinel of the Gael ; 
It is not that her daughter is the wife of O'Neil ; 
It is not that her first-born's name strikes terrof through the vale ; 
It is not all her riches, but her virtues that 1 praise — 
She made the bardic spirit strong to face the evil days ; 
To the princes of a feudal age she taught the might of love, 
And her name, though woman's, shall be scrolled their warrior names 


Low lie tlie oaks of Ofi'aly, Rath Imayn is a wreck ; 

Fallen are the chiefs of Offaly — Death's yoke on every fleet ; 

Da Sinchel's feast no move is held for holy in the land. 

No queoii — like Margaret — welcomes now the drooping liardicband; 

No nights of minstrelsy are now like the Irish nights of old; 

No sopts of aingcri=i, such as tlicn, M'Egan's book enrolled. 

But the name of IMargarct O'Caroll, who taught the might of love, 

Shall shine in Ireland's annals even minstrel name above. 

Margaret O' Carroll died in the year 14G1, 
wliich, on that account, McFirbis calls " an un- 
gratiousandiinglorioiisyeare." Death was caused 
by a cancer in her breast. " While the Avorld lasts, '^ 
says her admiring and faithful chronicler, " her 
very many gifts to the Irish and Scottish nations 
cannot be numbered. God's blessing, tlic blessing 
of all saints, and every our blessing from Jerusa- 
lem to Inis Gluair be on her going to Heaven, and 
blessed be he that will reade and will heare this, for 


the blessincr her soiile. Cursed be the sore in her 


breast tliat killed Margrett." 

She had three children — two sons and a 
daughter — who did not leave any posterity. 

" Finola, the daughter of Calvagh 'Conor Faly, 
and of Mai'garct, daughter of O'Cari'oll, wlio luid 
been first married to O'Donnell, and afbei-wards to 
Hugh Boy O'Neill, the most beautiful and stately, 
the most renowned and illustrious woman of her 
time in all Ireland, her own mother only excepted, 
retired from this transitory world to prepare for 
life eternal, and assumed the yoke of piety and 
devotion in the monastery of Cill-achaidh, a.d. 

She lived in religious retirement for forty-five 
years, and died July 25th, 1493. 

The two sons of Margaret O'Carroll were Felim 
and Teijxe. The former survived his mother but 
one day, and McFirbis thus records his death : — 

" Felim, son to Calwagh O'Connor and to 
Margrett aforesaid, the only king's son that has got 
most ffaime, reputation and notable name, and that 
was most courageous that lived of the Lagenians 
in the latter ages, died, and there was but one night 
betwixt his and his mother's death. He died of 
the leprosy." 

* " Annals of tlie Four Mastera." 



Teige, the second son, died of the plague in the 
year 1471. 

Scant as are the foregoing details of the life and 
character of Margaret 0' Carroll of Offally, they 
are yet sulHcient to show that, instead of being the 
rude half-savage creature she is commonly repre- 
sented to be, the Irishwoman of the Middle 
Ages was a high-bred and liigh-spiiited gentle- 


BoEN, A.D. 146t. Died, 1604. 

WICE threescore years and ten — the allotted 
space of human life — passed over the head 
of the Lady Katherine, popularly known as 
the " Old Countess of Desmond," before she yielded 
up her indomitable spirit. Not only her own genera- 
tion and that which followed it did she see die 
out, but the next, and the next to this again, she 
saw arise, play out their parts in life, and disap- 
pear. Yet she lived on. A wife for half a cen- 
tury, she became a widow at threescore and 
ten ; but, even at this latter period, only half of 
her pilgrimage was accomplished. Tlie princely 
race from whom she sprang passed before her eyes 
through strange vicissitudes. For more than a 
century she beheld them in almost regjil magni- 
ficence and power, swaying the councils of their 
sovereigns, and acting as their representatives at 
home and abroad ; and she lived to see the chief 
of her house an outcast and a wanderer, with a 
price on his head, finally hunted down like a wild 
beast, and his seigniories gone for ever. 


Lady Katlierine Fitzgerald was born in the 
Castle of Dromana, in the third year of Edward IV., 
14G4. She was a Geraldlne both on her father's 
and mother's side, being the dauglitcr of Sir Jolm 
Fitzgerald, Lord of Decies, and of Ellen his wife, 
daucrhter of the White Knio-ht. In 1483 she mar- 
ried her kinsman, Thomas, third son of Thomas, 
eighth Earl of Desmond, and brother of James, the 
ninth Earl. The Duke of Gloucester, afterwards 
Richard III., was at her wedding, which took 
place in London, and danced with the bride, who 
always described him as being straight and well 
formed, instead of having the misshapen body 
which historians give him. Not long after her 
marriage, her husband's brother, James, tlie ninth 
Earl of Desmond, was basely murdered by his ser- 
vant Shaun (John) Murtagh, at the instigation of 
another brother, John. The taint of blood was 
henceforth upon the race, and it never passed 
away. The murdered Earl was succeeded by liis 
brother Maurice, who enjoyed the lionours for 
three-and-thirty years. Earl Maurice died at 
Tralee in 1520, and was succeeded by his only son, 
James, who held the title for nine years. He died, 
leaving no male issue ; and the honours, in conse- 
quence, devolved on the husband of the Lady 
Katlierine, who became, in 1529, the twelfth Earl 
of Desmond, 


At this time he was in his seventy-sixth year, 
and had acquired the sobriquet of Maol, or " The 
Bald.'' The countess was ten years his junior. 
They had one daughter, and there was also living 
a son of the Earl's by a former wife. This son died 
of the plague, just six months after his father suc- 
ceeded to the earldom, and his remains were buried 
in the Franciscan priory at Youghal. The Earl 
of Desmond was a loyal subject of the English 
crown. When his young kinsman — the Geraldine 
" Silken Thomas" — in the Castle of Dublin, openly 
renounced his allegiance to the king, the Earl of 
Desmond was one of the tirst applied to *' to catch 
the traitor." But shortly after the summons 
arrived he breathed his last in his castle at 
Youghal, and was buried with his father, under a 
stately tomb in the Franciscan Priory. 

The widowed Lady Katherine was now in her 
seventieth year. Her jointure was the manor of 
Inchiquin, about five miles distant from Youghal, 
skirted by the sea on its eastern side. The river 
Finisk" ran through the estate, and on its margin, 
about four miles up from the ocean, was the Castle 
of Inchiquin, the ruins of which yet remain. It 
was circular, and must have been of prodigious 
strength ; for the existing walls are no less than 

* In Irish, " Fionn-uisge," the fair water. 


twelve feet in thickness. The portion now standing 
is about tliirty-five feet high, and thirty feet in 
diameter inside the walls. In this castle lived the 
old Countess of Desmond and her only daughter. 

Immediately upon the death of her husband 
commenced the disastrous feuds which led to the 
ruin of the Geraldines. The rightful heir to the 
family honours was James FitzMaurice, the son of 
the Countess of Desmond's stepson, who had died 
of the plague. When the earldom became vacant 
by the death of his grandfather, James FitzMaurice 
was page to the king in England. Hurrying home 
to assume the family honours, he was murdered by 
his first cousin, John FitzJohn. Frightful scenes 
follow, but there is nothing recorded in the family 
history concerning the old Coiuitess until we come 
to Garrett, the fifteenth Earl, in whom the power 
of the proud race of Desmond was extinguished. 
There is a deed preserved in the Exchequer, Dub- 
lin, in wliich tlie aged Countess assigns her castle 
to CiurcLt. What his motives in wisliing to 
become possessed of it were we are left to conjec- 
ture. It is probable that, meditating an insurrec- 
tion, he deemed it expedient to hold in his hands, 
or in the hands of his servants, every stronghold in 
the district. 

Sir Walter Raleigh several times makes mention 
of " the Ladie Cattelyn," the name, doubtless, by 


which she was known amongst her Irish followers, 
in whose vernacular " Kauthleen" was the right 
rendering of Katherine. In his " Historie of the 
World" he says : — 

" I myself knew the old Countess of Desmond, 
of Inchiquin, in Munster, who lived in the year 
1589, and many years since,* who was married in 
Edward the Fourth's time, and held her joynture 
from all the Earls of Desmond since then ; and 
that this is true all the nohlemen and gentlemen 
of Munster can witness." 

She is several times mentioned in the deeds con- 
cerning Sir Walter Kaleigh's plantation of his 
estates in the south of Ireland. In a letter of his, 
addressed to the Queen in 1591, he says that all 
the neighbourhood of Youghal had been let out to 
English settlers, with a solitary exception : — 
" There remaynes unto me but an old castle and 
demayne, which are yet in occupation of the old 
Countess of Desmond for her joynture." 

But there were even darker days in store for the 
venerable noblewoman. Her lands were at lengtli 
seized by the English settlers, her jointure was no 
longer paid, and she was reduced to the greatest 
poverty. All her remonstrances were set at 

* " Since" — it should be remembered tliat Sir Walter Raleigh 
and other writers of his time used the word " since" iu the same 
sense as we use " after." 


nought. But, aged though she was, she sum- 
moned up all the spirit and fire of her race, and 
crossing the Channel in a sailing vessel wliich 
])liod between Yoiighal and Bristol, she arrived 
one day at the latter city, in company with her 
daughter, determined to plead her cause with the 
king in person. The following account of the 
journey is taken from the Birch Collection in the 
Library of the British Museum. It is an extract 
from a " Table Book" of Robert Sydney, second 
Earl of Leicester, (Add. MSS. 41G1), and runs 
thus : — 

" The olde Countess of Desmond was a marryed 
woman in Edward IV.'s time, of England, and 
lived till towards the time of Queen Elizabeth, soe 
as she needes must be 14.0 yearcs old ; she had a 
newe sett of teeth not long before her death, and 
might have lived much longer had she not mett 
with a kind of violent death ; for she must needes 
climb a nutt-tree to gather nutts, soe Mling down 
she hurb her tliigli, which brought a fever, and that 
fever brought death. This, my cosen Walter Fitz- 
william told me. This olde lady, Mr. Harnet told 
me, came to petition the Queen, and landing at 
Bristol, shee came on foote to London ; beuig then 
soe olde that her daughter was decrepit, and not 
able to come with her, but was brought in a little 
cart, their poverty not allowing them better provi- 


sion of means. As I remember, Sir Walter Row- 
leigli, in some part of his History, speaks of her, and 
says that he saw her anno 1589. Her death was 
as strange and remarkable as her long life was, 
having seene the deathes of soe many descended 
from her ; and botho her own and her husband's 
house ruined in the rebellion and wars." 

The foregoing account is slightly inaccurate, as 
it is well authenticated that it was to petition 
James I., and not Queen Elizabeth, the Countess 
of Desmond came to London. The king took pity 
upon her and relieved her necessities, but shortly 
after her return home she died, in the year 1G04, 
and in the 140th year of her age. It is not cer- 
tain where she was buried, but we may safely 
assume that it was in the Franciscan Priory at 
Youghal, where her husband had been interred 
seventy years previously. 

In the life of Old Parr* the following passage 
occurs : — 

Sir Walter Ealeigli, a most learned knight, 
Doth of an Irish Countess (Desmond) write, 
Of scvenscorc years of age, he with her spake. 
The Lord St. Albans doth more mention make 
That she was married in fourth Edward's reign, 
Thrice shed her teeth, which three times came again. 

In Lord Bacon's History of Life and Death, which 

* " Harleian Miscellanies," vol. ii. p. 79. 


was originally published in 1623 — but which was 
written many years previous to that date — allu- 
sion is made to the venerable Countess : — 

"The Irisli, especially the wild Irish, even at 
this day, live very long. Certainly they report 
that within these few years the Countess of Des- 
mond lived to a hundred and forty years of age, 
and bred teeth three times." 

When the Countess of Desmond came to London 
to petition King James her portrait was painted, 
and is now in the possession of Colonel Herbert of 
Muckross. It is done upon canvas, is oval, and 
about three feet long. She is represented as wear- 
ing a kmd of hood, a lace collar, and her person is 
enveloped in a fur mantle. If she actually wore a 
lace collar — and that it has not been introduced 
by the painter for the sake of effect — it is a very 
good guarantee that her worldly circumstances 
must have greatly improved — lace at that period 
being almost priceless. In one of the portraits of 
Mary, Queen of Scots, she is painted as wearing a 
pau- of lace ruffles which she had brought with her 
from France, and upon which Queen Elizabeth 
looked with envious eyes ; for the latter possessed 
no lace, save a narrow piece of edging which had 
belonged to Catherine of Arragon, and which that 
Queen had brought from Spain. 

The Countess of Desmond lived duiing the 



reigns of Edward IV. — during whose reign slie 
was married — of Edward V., Richard III., Henry 
VIL, Heniy VIII., Edward VL, Mary and EHza- 
beth, and she died in the second year of the reign 
of James I. 



Born a.d. 1528. 

EPtALD, the ninth Earl of Kildare, seems 
to have been singularly fortunate in the 
choice of his two wives. He was first 
married to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Louche, 
of Codnor, who is described as being "a woman 
of rare probity of mind, and every way commend- 
able." Slio boro liiin four daughters and ono son, 
and then died suddenly at Lucan, county of Loutli, 
A.D. 1517, and was buried with great solemnity 
near the Earl's mother, in the monastery of Friars 
Observants, at Killucan.* 

The Earl of Kildare was too great a power in 
the land not to liavc many enemies ; and the year 
following the death of his wife, he was falsely 
accused of maladministration. He wrote to the 
king (Henry VIH.) in his own defence, and at 
length went over to England to answer, in person, 
the charges made against him. 

Whilst staying in London, waiting for the in- 

VOL. I. 

* Ware's "Annals." 


quiry into his conduct, he married his second wife, 
Lady EHzabeth Grey, fourth daughter of Thomas, 
Marquis of Dorset, and granddaughter of EUza- 
beth Woodville, Queen of Edward IV. By this 
marriage he gained much influence at Court, as 
the countess was first cousin to Henry VHL* 
This marriage was a very happy one. HoHnshed 
often speaks of Lady Ehzabeth with much respect, 
and another chronicler says concerning her : — 

" This noble man was so well affected to his wife, 
the Ladie Grey, as lie woulde not at any time buy 
a sute of apparell for himself, but he would sute 
her with the same stuff. Whiche gentleness she 
recompensed with equal kindness ; for, after 
that he deceased in the Tower, she did not only 
ever after live as a chast and honourable widue, 
but also nightly, before she went to bed, she would 
resort to his picture, and there, with a solemn 
congee, she would bid her lorde good night. 
Whereby may be gathered with howe great love 
shee affected his person that had in such price his 
bare picture."! 

* Sir John Grey=Elizabeth Woodville^Edward IV. 

I I 

Thomas, Marquis of Dorset. Elizabeth=Hein-y VII. 

Henry VIII. 

Gerald, 9th Earl of K:ildare=Elizabeth. 
t Stanihurst. 


The issue of this marriage was two sons and 
three daughters : 

1. Gerald, eleventh Earl. 

2. Edward, father of Gerald, fourteenth Earl. 

1. Lady Margaret, born deaf and dumb, and 

died unmarried. 

2. Lady Elizabeth. 

3. Lady Cecily. 

The subject of this brief sketcli is the Lady 
Elizabeth Fitzgerald, the second daughter. She 
is best known as " The Fair Geraldine," under 
that name her beauty having been celebrated by 
the poets of her own and of later times. Born in 
Ireland in a.d. 1528, she was taken to England to 
be educated, that the jewel of her beauty might be 
polished and set olF to advantage by the graces 
and accomplishments to be acquired in the atmo- 
sjDhere of a Court. She resided at Hunsdon, the 
seat of Lady (afterwards Queen) Mary, who was 
her mother's second cousin. At a very early age 
the Lady Mary a.ppointed her young kinswoman 
one of her maids of honour, and it was about this 
time that she was seen by Henry, Earl of Surrey, 
the poet, soldier, and politician, who was so struck 
by her rare beauty that he wrote the following 
sonnet upon her : — 

G 2 



From Tuscane came ray lady's worthy race, 

Fair Florence was sometime her ancient scat. 
The western isle, whose ])leasant shore doth face 

Wild Camber's clifFs, did give her lively heat. 
Fostered she was with milk of Irish hreast; 

Her sire an Earl, her dame of Princes' blood, 
From tender years in Britain doth she rest, 

With King's child ; where she tasteth costly food. 
Hunsdon did first present her to mine eyen ; 

Bright is her hue, and Geraldine she hight. 
Hampton me tanglit to wish her first for mine, 

And Windsor, alas ! doth chase mo from her sight. 
Her beanty of kind ; her virtues from above, 
Happy is ho that can attain hor love. 

It has been doubted whether the Lady Ehza- 
beth or tlie Lady Cecily Fitzgerald were " The 
Fair Geraldine ;" but the circumstance of Surrey 
seeing her first at Hunsdon, which was built by 
Henry the Eighth for educational purposes for his 
cliildren, seems to settle the point, and to indicate 
that " The Fair Geraldine" was the Lady Eliza- 
beth. There are the following reasons for sup- 
posing that it was the second daughter whose 
beauty was so celebrated. First, because Lady 
Mary Bryan, the governess of the king's children, 
mentions the Lady Elizabeth in a letter to Crom- 
well f' and, secondly, because no mention is ever 

* Strype's " Ecclesiastical History." 


made of the Lady Cecily having been attached to 
the Court. 

" And Windsor, alas ! doth cliase me from her sight," 

says Surrey, in his sonnet to " The Fair Geral- 
dine," referring to his incarceration in a tower in 
Windsor Castle, for the crime of eating flesh in 
Lent. Moreover, Loi-d Leonard Grey, uncle of 
the Fitzgeralds, was Deputy of Ireland for the 
Duke of Richmond, who was the intimate friend 
of Surrey. That connexion alone would account 
for the Earl's acquaintance with a young lady, bred 
lip Avith the lioyal family. 

" The Fair Geraldine" must have made more 
than a passhig impression upon the heart of the 
courtly soldier ; for, later on, wo hear of him at a 
tournament in Florence, defying the world to pro- 
duce such beauty as hers. He was victorious, and 
the palm for beauty was unanimously awarded to 
the beautiful Irish maiden. Lord Surrey is also 
said to have visited, about the same time, Corne- 
lius Agrippa, the celebrated alchemist, to try if he 
could look into the future, and tell him anything 
concerning the lady of his heart. History is silent 
as to wlicther or not the sage i^ossesscd (or pro- 
fessed to possess) the gift of prophecy, but it is 
recorded that, by means of a magic mirror, he re- 
v^ealed to Lord Surrey the form of the fair Geral- 


dine lying on a couch, reading one of his sonnets 
by the .Hglit of a taper. This incident has been 
introduced by Sir Walter Scott into his " Lay of 
the Last Minstrel" :— 

'Twas All Souls' Eve, and Surrey's heart beat high ; 

IIo heard the iiiidiiight boll with anxious start, 
Which told the mystic hour approaching nigh, 

When wise Cornelius promised, by his art. 

To show to him the lady of his heart ; 
Albeit betwixt them roared the ocean grim ; 

Yet so the sage had hight to play his part. 
That ho should see her form in life and limb. 
And mark, if still she loved, and still she thought of hirn. 

Dark was the vaulted room of gramaryo. 

To which the wizard led the gallant knight. 
Save that before a mirror huge and high 

A hallowed taper shed a glimmering light 

On mystic implements of magic might; 
On cross, and character, and talisman 

And almagest, and altar — nothing bright : 
For fitful was the lustre, pale and wan, 
As watchlight by the bed of some departing man. 

But soon within that mirror, huge and high, 

Was seen a self -emitted light to gleam, 
And forms ujjon its breast the earl 'gan spy, 

Cloudy and indistinct, as feverish dream ; 

Till slow arranging, and defined, they seem 
To form a lordly and a lofty room. 

Part lighted with a lamp with silver beam. 
Placed by a couch of Agra's silken loom, 
And part by moonshine pale, and part was hid in gloom. 

Fair all the pageant — but how passing fair 
The slender form which lay on couch of Ind ! 

O'er her white bosom strayed her hazel hair. 
Pale her dear cheek, as if for love she pined ; 
All in her night-robe loose she lay reclined. 


And, pensive, read from tablet eburnine 

Some strain that seemed her inmost soul to find; 
That favoured strain was Surrey's raptured line. 
That fair and lovely form, the Ladye Geraldine. 

Slow rolled the clouds ujion the lovely form, 

And swci>t the goodly vision all away— 
So royal envy rolled the murky storm 

O'er my beloved Master's glorious day. 

Thou jealous, ruthless tyrant ! — Heaven repay 
On thee, and on thy children's latest line, 

The wild caprice of thy despotic sway, 
Tlio gory bridal-bod, the plundered shrino. 
The murdered Surrey's blood — the tears of Geraldine! 

" The Fair Geraldine" must have had many a 
young and gallant aspirant for her hand ; and it is 
almost with feelings of dismay and pity that we 
read that in 1543, when in but her sixteenth 
year, she mari'ied Sir Anthony Brown, K.G., who 
was then sixty years of age. He died in 1548, 
and the young widow shortly afterwards married 
the Earl of Lincoln. The Fair Geraldine left no 
posterity to inherit her beauty, and after this men- 
tion of her second marriage history is silent re- 
specting her. She survived her second husband, 
and erected a monument to his memory in Saint 
George's Chapel, at Windsor. The Earl is repre- 
sented in a suit of armour, and by his side is an 
effigy of " The Fair Geraldine," the date of whose 
death is uncertain. 


Lived during tue greater tart of the Sixteenth Century. 
Dates Uncertain. 

EAINNE O'MAILLY, or "Grace O'Malley" 

as she is more commonly called, has been 

the heroine of many a wild and romantic 

In the Irish and English political bal- 


lads of the time she is frequently alluded to as 
*' Grana Wail ;" and traditional stories concerning 
her prowess are yet rife in the West of Ireland. 
But history says very little concerning her. In a 
letter written by John O'Donovan, during tlie 
period of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland — which 
document is now preserved in the Library of the 
Boyal Irish Academy, Dublin, and bears the date 
July 17th, 1838— referring to the O'M alley family, 
he says . — 

" The most celebrated personage of this family 
that ever lived was Graina na g cearbhach, or 
Grace of the Gamesters, Ny-Maille, who flourished, 
according to tradition, in the reign of Queen Eliza- 
beth, by whom she was most graciously received. 


.... She is now most vividly remembered 
by tradition, and people were living in the last 
generation who conversed with people who knew 
her personally. Charles Cormick, of Errus, now 
seventy-four years and six weeks old, saw and con- 
versed with Elizabeth O'Donnell, of Newtown 
withm the Mullet, who died about sixty-four years 
ago, and who had seen and intimately known a 
Mr. Walsli, who remembered Graina na g cear- 
hhacli. Walsh died at the age of 107, and his 
father was of the same age as Graine, and a foster- 
brother of hers." 

But tradition is an " aery record" by no means 
to be entirely disregarded ; and if we connect the 
various stories whicli are afloat coiicorninof Crainne 
O'Mailly witli even the slight documentary evi- 
dence which we possess, we may arrive at some 
conception of her character, circumstances, and 
mode of life, 

Grainne O'Mailly is without a parallel in 
mediaival or modern times. She was a sea-queen : 
a remarkable product of a remarkable age. Call 
her a she-pirate if you will ; but was she more of 
a pirate than was Sir Francis Drake, or Sir Walter 
Raleigh, or his half-brother. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, 
all of whom were her contemporaries ? Elizabeth 
governed the British nation with the help of 
trusty counsellors and a well-digested code of 


laws ; whilst at the same time an Irish chief- 
tainess away in the wilds of Connauglit was, by 
the sheer force of her indomitable will, unaided by 
law or precedent, holding in subjection the 
fiercest and most lawless body of men In Ireland 
— the pirates of the Atlantic coast. The marvcl- 
lousness of the extraordinary influence she must 
have gained over these men is all the more sur- 
prising, when it is taken into consideration that 
they were not only the most belligerent of all the 
Irish clans, but they did not suffer a woman even 
to inherit property, much less to take a leadership 
in the government. Therefore — as will be shown 
further on — Grainne O'Mailly had no right except 
that of might. " At once above, beneath her sex," 
by both spear and spindle (her mother was also an 
O'Mailly), Grainne has been by some writers 
idealised, and represented as a beautiful and culti- 
vated woman. But there are no authorities for 
such statements. That she was remarkable in 
appearance there can be no question. This may 
be gathered from the fact that her name, Grainne, 
does not mean " Grace," as it has been commonly 
and erroneously Anglicised, but " The Ugly," and 
her ugliness must have been remarkable to have 
gained for her the soubriquet. Moreover, in a 
traditional account of her, preserved in a manu- 


script in the Eoyal Irish Academy, Dublm, the 
writer says : — 

" She was a great pirate and plunderer from her 
youth. It is Transcended to us by Tradition that 
the very Day she was brought to bed of her first 
Child that a Turkish Corsair attacked her ships, 
and that they were Getting the Better of her Men 
she got up put the Quilt about her a,nd a string 
about her neck took two Blunder Buslies in her 
hands came on Deck began damming and Capering 
about her monstrous size and odd figure surprised 
the Turks their officers gathered together talking 
of her this was what she wanted stretched botli 
her hands fired the two Blunder Bushes at them 
and Destroyed the ofiicci's." 

It is, however, a well-authenticated fact that she 
was dark-complexioned, owing, doubtless, to an 
admixture of Spanish blood in her veins, for the 
Western Irish had large commercial dealings with 
the wine-trading Spaniards, and the two countries 
had widely intermarried with each other. 

EiGstless and dark — its sliarp and rapid look 

Show'd a fierce spirit prone a wrong to feel, • 
And quicker to revenge it. As a book 

That sunburnt brow did fearless thoughts reveal ; 

And in her girdle was a skcyne of steel. 
Her crimson mantle her gold brooch did bind, 

Her flowing garments reached unto her heel ; 
Her hair part fell in tresses unconfined, 

And part a silver bodkin fastened up behind. 


Grainne O'Mailly was the daughter of Owen 
O'Mailly, who was better known as Dhubdara — i.e., 
" of the Black Oak." He was Lord of O'MaiUy s 
land, or Ui-m-liaille, pronounced " Hoole," or 
*' Owle ;" whence comes the corruption " Wail." 
His territory comprised the present baronies of 
Murrisk and Borrishoole — i.e.^ "The Borough of 
the O'Maillys." As well as being the chief of this 
seacoast district he was also the Lord of the Isles 
of Arran, then inhabited by a singularly wild race, 
who were known as the most intrepid mariners 
along the L'ish coast. Lideed, from tlie eiirliest 
ages the O'Mailly clan had been famed for sea- 
faring exploits. A bard of the fourteenth century 
says of them — 

A good man never was there 
Of the O'Mailly's but a mariner; 
Tlie proplicts of the weather are ye, 
A tribe of all'oction and brotherly lovo. 

When Dubhdara O'Mailly died, his daughter 
Grainne was a girl of nineteen. She had been 
accustomed to accompany her father frequently 
Avhen he went on his piratical expeditions, 
so that we may infer her knowledge of nautical 
matters was neither superficial nor theoretical, 
but thorough and practical. Dubhdara also 
left a son, who was much younger than 
Grainne, but who, by right, was the chief of 


the clan. However, he was set aside by his in- 
trepid sister, who assumed the command of the 
piratical squadron. She soon made herself noto- 
rious along the shores of Connemara,* where the 
deeply indented coast afforded safe harbours and 
hiding-places for her vessels Avhen too closely 
driven upon the Atlantic. Her fame as a daring 
pirate and undisputed Queen of the Western wave 
soon spread abroad, and lawless and desperate 
characters from all parts came and enrolled them- 
selves under her standard. At one time she could 
muster a flotilla formidable enough to deter the 
strongest coast lord in Ireland. It must not be 
supposed that her vessels were in any way re- 
sembling tliose of modern times. Wooden ships 
she certainly must have had, although of rude con- 
struction, but the bulk of her floating armament 
was composed of coracles, a sort of wickerwork boats 
covered with horse hide.t Her chief harbour was 
at Clare Island, in Newport Bay. Here her strong- 
hold of Carrigahowly Castle was built at the very 
edge of the water, and her vessels being moored 
and tied together, it is said that the rope with 
which they were fastened was passed through a 

* Connemara — i.e., Anglice, " Bays of the Sea." 
f In the wilder parts of Connemara these boats are yet 'used by 
the peasantry. 


hole in the castle wall, and that the courageous 
chieftainess slept with it wound around her arm, 
so as to be ready at once in case of any assault by 

She constantly attacked and robbed the Spanish 
galloons, which, laden with Spanish wine, traded 
between Spain and Galway, where they exchanged 
their cargo for a homeward-bound one of salt. 
But her chief raids were against the vessels of the 
Eno-lish Government. So notorious did she be- 


come, and so persistent was her persecution, that 
England at length proclaimed her an outlaw, and 
a reward of five hundred jDounds — an enormous 
sum in those days — was ofiered for her capture. 
Moreover, the Anglo-Norman troops stationed at 
Galway were sent to besiege and take her castle 
of Carrigahowly. Grainne gave them battle, and 
after a fortnight's skirmishing they retired dis- 
comfited and defeated by the intrepid sea-queen. 

Grainne O'Mailly was twice married. Her first 
husband was O'Donnell 'Flaherty, whose warlike 
character was indicated by his cognomen, a7i 
chogaidh — i.e., " of the wars." He was the chief of 
the 'Flaherty clan, but seems not to have played 
any important part in the history of the times. 
There is, however, a curious accovmt of the duties 
rendered to him, which affords a good picture of 
the social laws of the period. His retainers always 


paid rent in kind. From eveiy quarter of a town- 
land he received for the support of his household 
a certain amount of cattle, certain measures of oat- 
meal, called srulian, with " suflicient butter ;" and 
when his daughter married he could demand a 
two-year old heifer from every inhabited townland. 
0' Flaherty's residence was the extensive fortress 
of Bunowen, at the mouth of the river Owenmore. 
If the wife's clan was the most powerful in that 
part of the island, the husband's was the most 
dreaded. "The ferocious O'Flaherties" struck 
terror into the hearts of their enemies. When 
the thirteen Anglo-Norman tribes took pos- 
session of the city of Galway and the surround- 
ing country, they inserted in their Litany the 
especial clause, — 

" From the ferocious OTlalierties, — Good Lord, deliver us !" 

And the same words were inscribed, probably as a 
talisman, over the western gate of the city. 
O'Flaliorty's territory was called Baile-na-h-insi, 
or " the Town of the Island." When he died — 
neither how, where, nor when is recorded — 
Grainne's troubles really began. It must be borne 
in mind that she governed the territory solely by 
the right of might, and upon her husband's death 
she inherited no property, for the native laws gave 
neither power nor inheritance to women. By her 


marriage sKe had to some extent weaned herself 
from her followers, so that when she attempted to 
resume her former sway she found some difficulty 
in gathering together her retainers. She was 
literally without the means of living at this time, 
for with the death of her husband ceased all her 
rights to the collop-na-sprea, or dowry allowed to 
the wife of a chieftain, and which was usually paid 
in cattle. Therefore, for that reason she excused 
her piracies to the English Government, ni-ging 
that her " thrade of maintenance" — i.e., piracy, 
whereby she did "maintain herself and her people 
by sea and land for the space of forty (?) years," 
was perfectly justifiable, as she had no other 

Grainne O'Mailly took as her second husband a 
powerful Anglo-Norman chief, named Sir Richard 
Bourke, lord of the Mayo sept of tliis great 
Norman-Irish clan. Amongst his Irish retainers 
he was known by the name of Mac William Eughter 
— i.e., "the lower," in contradistinction to the Earl 
of Clanrickarde, who governed " the upper" sept. 
Also, in accordance with tlie primitive Irish 
fashion of giving a person a nickname, he was 
called " Hichard in Iron" — in allusion to the plate 
armour which he always wore. 

Whether or not it were owing to the influence 
of her husband, it is impossible to say, but it is 


certain that about this time— either shoi-tly before 
or shortly after her marriage — Grainne O'Mailly, 
who had forfeited none of her independence by 
taking a husband, put herself under the protection 
of the Enghsh rule in Connaught. She was a 
powerful auxihary in supporting the Saxon sway 
in the West ; and the Viceroy Sydney, referring 
to his visit to Galway in 1 57G, says : — 

" There came to me a most famous feminine sea- 
captam, called Grany-I-Mallye, and offered her ser- 
vice unto me, wheresoever I would command her, 
with tliree galleys and two hundred fighting men, 
either in Ireland or Scotland. She brought -with 
her her husband, for she was, as well by sea as by 
land, more than luastor's mate witli liim. lie was 
of the nether Bourkes, and now, as I hear, 
MacWilliam Enter, and called by the nickname, 
* Kichard in Iron.' This was a notorious woman 
in all the coasts of Ireland. This woman did Sir 
Philip see and speak with : he can more at large 
mform you of her." 

The English found Grainne a powerful aUy in 
consolidating their power along the Western 
shores of the island ; and it is but fair to add that 
they were generous enough to recognise tliis. But 
although the piratical cliieftainess declared herself 
on the side of the English, yet she would not 
give up one tittle of her dignity. In 1593, her 

VOL. I. H 


troubles by sea and land increased and multiplied, 
and the politic Elizabeth having invited her to 
London to plead her cause in person, the Con- 
naught princess accepted the invitation. 

Tradition says that Grainne O'Mailly and her 
retinue performed the entire journey by sea, and 
sailed up the Thames to the Tower Gate. In this 
case tradition does not seem to be far wrong, for 
her little son, Theobald, or Toby, who was born 
during the journey, was called, Tiohoid-na-Lung, 
or ''Theobald of the Ship." 

The meeting of the two royal ladies nuist have 
been a strange sight, — the light-haired, light-eyed, 
fair-faced, and rather shrcwisli -looking Ehzabeth, 
and the swarthy, black-eyed, and black-haired Queen 
of Connaught. That the latter and her retainers 
were not attired in the then prevailing mode is 
pretty certain ; but it may also be positively stated 
that, whatever was the fashion of their habiliments, 
the texture and workmanship would have borne 
comparison with any to be found at the Court. 
For in Ireland, from the earliest ages, skilled 
needlework was held in the highest esteem.* 

* The following extracts from the ancient Brehon Laws of Erinn 
corroborate tliis statement : — 

" The Fine for a Pledged Needle. 

" A dairt (or yearling calf) wortli four screimlls (of tliree pennies 
each) is what is paid aa the fine of the needle, that is, of the fine 


There are many traditional accounts of this 
memorable interview, but the chief and best result 
■of it was that it consolidated the treaty already 
made between Grainne and Elizabeth. At the 
same time the Irish cliieftainess — although express- 
ing herself grateful for the protection afforded by 
the English Government — did not cede one mch 
of her royal dignity. The English Queen offered 
to create her a countess ; to which Grainne replied 

needle. That is tx) say, a yearling calf to every woman -whatever 
as the fine for her needle, except the cmbroideress, for as regards 
her, it is the value of an ounce of silver that shall be paid her as 
the fine for her needle, provided, however, that this may not be 
paid her except for the needle "with which she works her ornanicnta- 
tioii, lilinX is, her eml»nHdory. 

" The lawful right of the pledged needle of an cmbroideress is laid 
down by the law. It is in ornamentation she is paid as far as the 
value of an ounce of silver, because eveiy woman who is an cmbroi- 
deress is entitled to more profit than a queen." 

This is a remarkable instance of protection to skilled industry so 
many ages ago. The law protected rigorously all professional 
workers, and drew a wide line of demarcation between amateur 
cmbroid cresses and those who worked for a living. There is also a 
very curious entry rcsiDCcting some portions of the dress and orna- 
ments of the women of ancient Eriun, which indicates a peculiar and 
advanced state of civilisation. With reference to the contents of a 
■queen's " work-bag," the law says : — 

" If it contains its legitimate property — namely, a veil of one 
colour, and a mind, or crown, of gold, and a land, or crescent, of 
gold and thread of silver. This then is the workbag of the wives 
of the kings, and when all these articles are in it, three cows (or six 
heifers) are its fine. 

" The workbags of the wives of the noble (or lord) grades, that is, 
.'J, workbag with its legitimate property of (silver) thread, with a veil, 

H 2 


that she could not do so, as they were both equal 
in rank. But she said she would accept a title for 
her little son Toby, who had been born on the 
passage from Ireland. Accordingly, the infant was 
brought into Court, and then and there created 
Viscount Mayo ; from whom the present noble 
family of the Earls of Mayo is descended. 

When the Irish chieftainess arrived at the Eng- 
lish Court, she described herself as " Grainne 
O'Mailly, daughter of Doodarro O'Mailly, sometime 
chief of the countiy called Upper Owle O'Mailly, 
now called the Barony of Murasky." This state- 

and with a diadem of gold, and a silk handkercMef, and if so, there 
are three heifers paid as its fine, 

" If it be a bag without its legitimate property — namely, a veil, 
and silver thread, and a crescent of silver, and a diadem of gold ; 
or what contains a painted mask, that is, what contains a painted 
face (or mask) for assemblies, namely, the banner or the handkor- 
chief of silk, or the gold thread, that is, when it does not contain 
those things ; and if those things were contained in it, three heifers 
would have been the lawful fine for it, but when those are not in it, 
it is double the value of everything which is in it, until it reaches 
the three heifers, and it goes no further." 

According to the Dlnn-Seanclms, Saint Patrick kept three em- 
broidercsses constantly at work. These were Lu2)ait, his own sister ; 
Ere, the daughter of King Daire ; and Gruimthoris of Gewiigoha. 

Maistin, the embroideress of Aengus Mac Inog, is celebrated as 
the first person who formed the figure of a cross in embroidery in 
Erin ; on the breast-border of Aengus' s tunic. 

Saint Columb Cille also had his special embroidercsses, the chief 
of whom was Eroiat, the virgin nun, his cook and robemaker, who 
was embroideress, cutter, and sewer of clothes to Saint Columb 
Cill6 and his disciples. 


ment rather puzzled Elizabeth, who knew that 
Grainne was a married woman, until it was ex- 
plained to her that it was customary amongst the 
Irish for the women to retain their maiden names 
after marriage.^'* 

When Grainne was retm^ning to Connaught, 
a storm came on, and her fleet was obliged 
to put in to Plowtli harbour. She landed, and 
advo^ncins: to the castle found the dooi'S shut and 
the inmates at dinner. Being refused the hospi- 
tality she demanded for herself and her followers, 
.she retraced her steps towards the shore. On her 
way she met a beautifid child playing in the 
grounds, and hearing lie was the heir of Howtli, 
Graimio deliberately stole Inm. She bore olf her 
prize with her to Connaught, nor would she give 
Jiim up until she stipulated for, and obtained as 
his ransom, the promise that for ever at meal- 
times the doors of the castle be thrown wide open, 
and hospitality extended to all wayfarers who 
should demand it. This custom is still observed 

Graiime built and endowed a monastery on Clare 
Island, and there, tradition says, she was buried. 

* The same custom prevails amongst tlie Irish peasantry to this 
.day. It is no uncommon thing to hear them speak of " Margaret 
Dempsey, -who is married to Pat Flanagan." 


The chief authority for this statement is the curious, 
old manuscript of the O'Mailly family before re- 
ferred to, which says v — 

" Wlien Grana-na-Garrugh died, she was buried 
in Clear Island Abbey." 

The same document also mentions that " there- 
is a gi-and tomb in the Abbey of Ballintobber 
Carra, where Tubboo (the son of Grana) was 
buried. The inscription v/as — Here Lies the Body 
of Sir Tubboo na Long Bourk first Lord Viscount 
(of Mayo) in which Tomb all his posterity was 
Buried, whereof Four were Lords and Earls/'* 

Grainne O'Mailly was a she-pirate — there is no- 
getting over that fact — but the state of the times 
in which she lived must be taken into considera- 
tion. Piracy was not considered the crime it was 
elevated into in later days, for the explorers of the 
New World were nothino; more nor less than 
pirates. So that if the Irish sea-queen was also a 
sea-robber, it was less her fault than her misfortune 
to have been placed in circumstances such as to 
have obliged her to pursue this ignoble " thrade 
of maintenance," as she herself so quaintly calls it.. 
But, save her "thrade," there is no other stain: 
upon the character of Grainne O'Mailly. She was- 
a truly virtuous woman, and it is recorded that her 

* This MS. has no date. 


horror of iinchastity was sucli that she did her 
utmost to promote early marriages amongst her 
clan. Her good sense and wise judgment are 
most forcibly shown in her desire to work hand in 
hand with the Anglo-Norman settlors for the good 
of the country. Instead of weakly defying them, 
when she found theu' power was becoming pre- 
eminent, and thus keeping the land in a state of 
broil, and hindering progress, she founded and 
endowed religious houses, thus tacitly fostering 
religion and education ; she fought for the rights 
of her children whilst they were mmors ; she made 
the best and most advantageous treaties she could 
with the powers that were, yet her good deeds 
seem always to be forgotten, and lier least credit- 
able traits of character remembered. Neverthe- 
less, despite her marauding prochvities, Grainne 
O'Mailly as well as being a queen amongst her 
mariners, also stands forth as a queen amongst 


Died, a.d. 1658. 

DAUGHTETl and heiress of the Geraldines, 
Lettice Digby, Baroness Ophaly, inherited 
the noble and learless spirit of lier race. 
She was granddanghter to Gerald, eleventh 
Earl of Kildare, and only daughter of Gerard, his 
eldest son, who died before his father. Created 
Baroness Ophaly, she was heir general to the 
house of Kildare, and inherited the barony of Geas- 
liill. She married Sir llobert Digby, of Coles- 
hill, in the county of Warwick; he died in IGI8, 
leaving the Baroness a widow with seven children. 
With this family she retm^ned to Ireland, and 
lived in the castle of Geashill, in the Queen's 
County. Here she resided for many years, 
honoured and respected by all. Although a 
woman of brilliant talents, she was content to 
live quietly, performing the duties of mother to her 
children, and a kind and considerate mistress to 
her household and tenantry. This state of affairs 
contmued until the year 1641, when the country 


fell iiito a most disordered state. Civil war de- 
vastated the land, and when the rudeness of that 
most degraded period suggested the hope of finding 
an easy prey in the feebleness of an unprotected 
lady, her brutal assailants met with a resistance 
worthy of commemoration. 

The rebels demanded admission to, and posses- 
sion of, the castle of Geashill, a request which the 
Baroness stoutly refused. They then addressed 
the following letter to her : — " We, his Majesty's 
loyal subjects, at the present employed in liis 
Highness 's service, for the sacking of your castle, 
you are therefore to dehver unto us the free pos- 
session of your said castle, promising faithfully that 
your ladyship, together with the rest within your 
said castle resiant, shall have a reasonable compo- 
sition ; otherwise, upon the non-yielding of the 
castle, we do assure you that we will burn the 
whole town, kill all the Protestants, and spare 
neither man, woman, nor child, upon taking the 
castle by compulsion. Consider, madam, of this 
our offer ; impute not the blame of your own folly 
unto us. Think not that here we brag. Your 
ladyship, u^^on submission, shall have safe convoy 
to secure you from the hands of your enemies, and 
to lead you whither you please. A speedy reply 
is desired with all expedition, and then we sur- 
cease." Here follow the signatures. 


But her intrepid ladyship did not choose to sur- 
.render, and sent the following reply : — 

" I received your letter, wherein you threaten 
to sack this ray castle by his Majesty's authority. 
I have ever been a loyal subject and a good neigh- 
bour among you, and therefore cannot but wonder 
at such an assault. I thank you for yoiu* offer of 
a convoy, wherein I hold little safety ; and there- 
fore my resolution is, that, being free from offend- 
ing his Majesty, or doing wrong to any of you, I 
will live and die innocently. I will do the best 
to defend my own, leaving the issue to God ; and 
though I have been, I still am desirous to avoid 
the shedding of Christian blood, yet, being pro- 
voked, your threats shall no way dismay me." 

But the rebels took no notice of this courajxeous 
letter, and Archdall says : — " After two months, 
the Lord Viscount Clanmalier brought a great 
piece of ordnance (to the making of which, as it 
was credibly reported, there went seven score pots 
and pans, which was cast three times by an Irish- 
man from Atliboy, before they brought it to that 
perfection in which it was at Geashill), and sent 
another summons to her ladyship." In this letter 
her kinsman, Lewis Glanmaleroe (or Glanmaher) 


peremptorily demands possession of her castle, 
offers the convoy proffered in the former epistle, 
and subscribes himself '' your loving cousin." But 
the dauntless spirit of Lettice 02:)haly was not to 
be so easily quelled, and she returned the following 
answer : — 

'' My Lord, — I little expected such a salute from 
a kinsman, whom I have ever respected, you beuig 
not ignorant of the great damages I have received 
from your followers of Glenmaleroe, so as you can't 
but know in your own conscience that I am innocent 
of doing you any injury, unless you count it an 
injury for my people to bring back a small quan- 
tity of my own goods whore they found them, and 
with tliem some others of such men as have done 
me all the injury they can devise, as may appear 
by their own letter. I was offered a convoy by 
those that formerly besieged me ; I hope you have 
more honour than to follow theu- example, by 
seeking her ruin that never wronged you. IIoav- 
ever, I am still of the same mind, and can think 
no place safer than my own house, wherem if I 
perisli by your means, the guilt will light on you, 
and I doubt not but I shall receive a crown of 
martyrdom, dying innocently. God, I trust, will 
take a poor widow into His protection from 


all those which without cause are risen up against 


" Your poor kinswoman, 

"Lettice Ophaly. 

" P.S. — If the conference you desire do but con- 
cern the contents of this letter, I think this answer 
will give you full satisfaction, and I hope you will 
withdraw your hand, and show your power in more 
noble actions." 

After his lordship had received this answer, he 
discharged the aforementioned piece of ordnance 
against tlie castle, which at the first shot burst 
and flew in pieces. However, the rebels with 
their muskets continued to fire upon the castle 
until the evening, when, still baffled, they retired, 
taking with them the broken cannon, but ncjt 
before Lewis Glanmaleroe sent another and moi-e 
peremptory letter to the Baroness, which she re- 
plied to in somewhat similar terms as to the former 

The castle was many times attacked by the 
rebels — notably so by the Dempsies — and the 
Baroness Ophaly was often menaced ; but, not- 
withstanding all, she preserved the same firm and 
intrepid demeanour. She never surrendered one 
inch of her prerogative, but steadily maintained her 
ground until the rebellion had somewhat abated. 



Then, in 1642, she was fetched off in safety by Sir 
Richard Greville. 

Lettice, Baroness Ophaly, resided for the re- 
mainder of her Hfe upon her late husband's pro- 
perty of Coleshill, in Warwickshire, where she 
died, A.D. 1658. 


Born, a.d. 1641. Died, a.d. 


HE grave Evelyn, in his Memoirs, describes 
the celebrated Mrs. Middleton, as a 
" famous, and, indeed, incomparable 
beauty ;" and in the licentious and brilliant Court 
of Charles II., where lovely women were the rule 
and not the exception, she captivated the fasci- 
nating Count de Grammont. She was very poor, 
but anxious, according to one of her biographers, 
"to appear magnificently, and ambitious to vie 
with those of the greatest fortunes, tliough unable 
to support the expense." 

De Grammont knew of her impecunious con- 
dition, and tried to win her regard by the most 
costly presents. But Mrs. Middleton, although 
she graciously accepted the gifts, did not seem to 
encourage the giver. Naturally enough, he be- 
came piqued, and was beginning to transfer his 
aflections from the rather affected Mrs. Middleton 
to Miss Warmestre, a lively girl, quite a contrast 
to his latest love, when, at this juncture, a new 


face appeared upon the scene, and inspired him 
with the only honourable attachment he had ever 

The daughter of Sir George Hamilton, fourth 
son of James, Earl of Abercorn, and of Mary, 
granddaughter of Walter, eleventh Earl of Ormond, 
Elizabeth Hamilton, was just in her twentieth 
year when she first appeared at the Court of 
Charles 11. , and fascinated the Count do Gram- 
mont as much by her goodness and intellectual 
quahties as by her personal charms. 

Samuel Pepys — who ought to be canonised under 
the name of " Saint Gossip" — leaves it upon record 
that at this period there were three distinct Courts 
hold in London. A later wiitcr, in mentioning 
them, thus characterises them : — " That at White- 
hall, in the King's apartments ; that in the 
Queen's, in the same palace ; and that of Hen- 
rietta Maria, the Queen -Mother, as she was styled, 
at Somerset House. Chai'les's was pre-eminent in 
innnorality, and in the daily outrage of all de- 
cency ; that of the miworthy widow of Charles I. 
was just bordering upon impropriety ; that of 
Katherine of Braganza was still decorous, though 
not irreproachable." Of the three Courts, that of 
Katherine was decidedly the most respectable, and 
so Pepys says. He seems rather to have admired 
this injured Queen, and says she had " a modest. 


innocent look," altliongli it is also left upon record 
that the first words she ever said in En<dish were, 
" You lie /" She must have heen of a gentle, un- 
complaining nature ; " for," says Pepys, " a pretty 
gentleman in our company confirms my Lady 
Castlemaine's being gone from Court, hut knows 
not the reason. He told us of one wipe the Queene, 
a little while ago, did give her, when she came in 
and found the Queene under the dresser's hands, 
and had been so long. ' I wonder your Ma- 
jesty,' says she, ' can have the patience to sit so 
long a-dressing V ' I have so nuich need to use 
patience,' says the Queene, ' that I can very well 
bear with it.' " 

De Grammont frequented the Court of Ka- 
therine of Braganza in preference to the other two, 
although Mrs. Middleton was seen more frequently 
at them than at the Queen's assemblies. Tlie man 
had something very noble and disinterested in his 
nature, notwithstanding his folUes and vices, and 
it is possible that he pitied the ill-used Queen. 
Certain it is that he invariably treated her with a 
respect not always accorded to her by her hus- 
band's associates ; and it was whilst in attendance 
upon Katherine, one evening at a ball given by 
Mrs. Middleton, that he met " La Belle Hamilton." 
He said he " had seen nothing at Court till this 


Sir Peter Lely was at that time painting the 
Beauties of the Court, and the portrait of Eliza- 
beth Hamilton is one of the happiest efforts of his 
genius. He lias depicted her with her rich dark 
hair, — of whicli a. tendril or two fell upon her ivory 
forehead, — adorned at the back with large pearls, 
luider wliich a gauze-like texture was gathered 
up, falling over the fair shoulders like a veil ; a 
full corsage, bound by a light band either of ribbon 
or of gold lace, confining with a large jewel or 
button the sleeve on the shoulder, disguised some- 
what the exquisite shape. A frill of cambric set 
off, whilst in whiteness it scarce rivalled, the 
shoulder and neck. " The mouth does not smile," 
says })c Grammout, " l)ut sccnis ready to break 
out into a smile. Notliing is sleepy, but every- 
thing is soft, sweet, and innocent in that face so 
beautiful and so beloved." 

A connoisseur in female beauty, De Grammont 
had never seen any one who so fully came up to 
his standard as did Elizabeth Hamilton when he 
first beheld her. In his inunitable Memoirs he 
tells us that, " She was at the happy age when the 
charms of the fair sex begin to bloom ; she had 
the finest shape, the loveliest neck, and the most 
])eautiful arms in the world ; she was majestic and 
graceful in all her movements, and she was the 
original after which all the ladies copied in their 

VOL. I. I 


taste and air of dress. Her forehead was open, 
white, and smooth ; her hair was well set, and fell 
with ease into that natural order which it is so diffi- 
cult to imitate ; her complexion was possessed of 
a certain freshness, not to be equalled by borrowed 
colours ; her eyes were not large, but they were 
lively, and capable of expressing whatever she 

But it was not alone her beauty which made an 
impression upon the brilliant De Grammont. 
Perhaps he was beginning to weary of mere ex- 
ternal charms, for he si)eaks with quite as nuich 
enthusiasm of her intellectual charms as of those 
of her person. 

" Her mind," he says, " was a proper companion 
for such a form : she did not endeavour to shine in 
conversation by those sprightly sallies which only 
puzzle, and with still greater care she avoided that 
affected solemnity in her discourses which produces 
stupidity ; but, without any eagerness to talk, she 
said just what she ought, and no more. She had 
an admirable discernment in distinguishing be- 
tween sohd and false wit ; and far from making an 
ostentatious display of her abilities, she was re- 
served, though very just in her decisions. Her sen- 
timents were always noble, and even lofty to the 
highest extent when there was occasion ; neverthe- 
less, she was less prepossessed with her own merit 


than is usually the case with those who have so 
much. Formed as we have described, she could 
not fail of commanding love ; but so far was she 
from courting it, that she was scrupulously nice 
with respect to those whose merit might entitle 
them to form any pretensions to her." 

The King's brother James, — Duke of York, that 
profligate who aped the saint, — saw Miss Hamilton's 
picture in Sir Peter Lely's studio one day, and fell 
in love with it on the spot. He lost no time in 
paying court to the lovely original, but was repulsed 
by her coldness. So was Jermyn, and all the other 
gallants of the Court, — all, save the Count de 
Grammont. It is supposed that, at first, his pro- 
posals to her were not of an honourable nature : 
and it is certain that the lady, although so 
fascinated by the brilhant foreigner, would not 
listen to any others. At length they were formally 
engaged, and scarcely were all the attendant cir- 
cumstances arranged when an incident occurred 
which very nearly separated them for ever : — 

" Philibert De Grammont was recalled to France 
by Louis XIII. He forgot, Frenchman-lilve, all his 
engagements to Miss Hamilton, and hurried off. 
He had reached Dover, when her two brothers 
rode up after him. 

" * Chevalier de Grammont,' they said, * have 
you forgotten nothing in London V 

I 2 


" ' I beg your pardon/ lie answered, ' I forgot to 
marry your sister.' " 

It is said that this story suggested to Moliere 
the idea of Le Manage force. 

For six years the marriage of De Grammont and 
La Belle Hamilton was in contemplation only. 
That she loved him ardently and deeply there can 
be no doubt, and never swerved from her loyalty 
to him, notwithstanding all the temptations of that 
gay and licentious Court. ITer own lamily were 
at first very much opposed to the marriage, for De 
Granunont was a man without either fortune or 
character ; an exile from his own country, and 
whose chief mode of livelihood was dependent upon 
the gaming-table. After a time Charles II. settled 
upon him an annual sum of 1500 Jacobuses, so 
that in the end it was not poverty which hindered 
him from fulfilling his engagement. The real 
truth seems to have been that De Grammont was 
too useful to the King in helping to pandar to his 
pleasures ; and Charles probably feared the pure 
influence of Elizabeth Hamilton over his boon com- 

However, at length they were married, and in 
1GG9, La Belle Hamilton, as she was still called, 
after giving birth to a child, went to reside in 
France. The French women did not like her, for 
she certainly had too much virtue, and perhaps too 


miicli beauty for the Parisian ladies to admire her. 
She was appointed Dame de Palais at Versailles, 
but her career in the French Court was less bril- 
liant than in Eiifxhi-iid. 

She loved her libertine husband devotedly, and 
did her best to reclaim him. In the year 169G, De 
Grammont fell dangerously ill, and his wife tried 
to draw his attention to a sense of his danger. 
Louis XIV. sent the Marquis de Dangeau to con- 
vert him, and to talk to him on a sul^ject little 
thought of by De Grammont — the world to come. 
" Hereupon Count de Grammont, turning towards 
his wife, who had ever been a very devout lady, 
told her, ' Countess, if you don't look to it, Dan- 
geau will juggle you out of my conversion.'" He 
died at the age of eighty-six. 

One of the most beautifid women of her age; fall 
. of wit and animal spirits — as maiden and wife, 
not a breath of scandal rests upon the fair name of 
Elizabeth Hamilton, Countess de Grammont. She 
emerged unscathed from the trying ordeal of the 
temptations and seductions of the two most 
profligate Courts in the world ; a noble example 
of womanly rectitude. 

PART m. 



Born, October IStii, 1720. Dikd, March 28ttt, 17G0. 

^HAT is virtue ?" asked a young' lady one day 
^ of a world-worn cynic. To which he 
promptly replied, " Not being found out, 
my dear !" How many lives of women who have 
been courted and caressed, who have been the idols 
of thcu- ngo ; surrounded by the intoxicating 
liomage which men are ever ready to yield to wit, 
genius, and beauty, when they find all these attri- 
butes centred in a woman — how many such lives 
would bear the stem scrutiny to which the 
asceticism of those who have never been tempted, 
would submit tliem "? Certainly, not the life of Peg 
Woffington. There is much concerning her to 
condemn, but there is also much to praise : much 
to mourn over, but much to be proud of In 
attempting to delineate the character of such a 
woman as she was, it should be borne in mind that 
her susceptible Celtic temperament, and her fiery 
Irish blood, often involved her in broils which she 


deeply regretted. She was perpetually inviting 
people to stand upon the tail of her coat, and when 
they complied with her request, she resented it as 
an insult. Moreover, she had no advantages of 
early and delicate culture, no moral training in the 
dawn of life, when impressions whether for good or 
evil are readily and indelihly stamped upon the 
character. It is a well-established fact that Peg 
Woffington lived to become fully sensible of her 
errors ; and she sincerely repented and mourned 
over them. Why, then, should the untaught, 
fatherless Irish girl be denied the credit so ol'tcn 
accorded to aristocratic Magdalens — take La Va- 
lerie, for example — who had infinitely far less excuse 
for their frailties ? " Forgive her one female error, 
and it might fairly be said of her, that she was 
adorned with every virtue ; honour, truth, bene- 
volence, and charity were her distinguishing 

On the 18th of October, 1720, Margaret Wof- 
fington was born in George's Court, a miserable 
slum of the City of Dublin. Ilor father was John 
Woliington, an honest bricklayer, who died when 
Peggy was about five years old. The poor mother 
was thus left with two children, and no means of 
supporting them. Young as Peg was, she was 

* Vide Arthur Murphy's " Life 6f Garrick." 


obliged to do something for her living ; and as the 
inliabitants of Dublin who lived near the river were 
obliged to have their water supply brought from 
the LifTcy, little Peggy worked for her daily bread 
as a water-carrier. 

About this time, a French dancer, calling herself 
Madame Yiolante, came to Dublin. She brought 
with her a number of acrobats and rope-dancers ; and 
such an exhibition bcinix tlio first of the kind that 
had ever been seen in that city, it naturally at- 
tracted much attention. Her entertainment was 
given in a large house in Fownes' Street, once the 
residence of Lord Chief Justice Whitchell. At the 
back of this house was a large piece of waste 
ground, which reached away to the rear of tlie Crow 
Street Theatre ; tlien tlie most fashionable play- 
house m Dubhn. After a time, the novelty of her 
acrobats and dancers began to pall upon her 
audience ; and Madame Violante cast about in 
her mind for some fresh species of entertainment. 
Slio Iwid often boon struck witli tlio spright- 
liness, beauty, and grace of the Irish children, 
and it occurred to her that a play, in which 
children should alone be the performers, could 
not fail to be attractive from the very originality 
of the idea. 

Madame Yiolante was ambitious in her selection 
of a piece. " The Beggar's Opera" was then in 


the full swing of its popularity. Polly Peachum 
and Captain Macheath liad become household 
words, and the enterprising Frenchwoman, having 
trained a number of children, brought out this first 
of the comic operas in a booth erected on the waste 
ground at tlie back of the Fownes' Street house. 
Little Peggy Woffington, not then quite ten years 
old, played the chief female part ; and from the Polly 
Peachum of the booth in Fownes' Street, sprung the 
beautiful, witty, and captivating actress, who be- 
witched Garrick and Sheridan ; foiled the sarcastic 
Qiiin witli. liis own woai)ons ; Bcoldod and Bworo at 
both pit and gallery when they did not please her ; 
and who sat down and cried because she had not as 
fine a dress as Mrs. Bellamy's. 

The children were well selected. There is an 
old playbill extant, in which their names are given, 
and we find tliat all those who personated the 
chief characters afterwards became distinguished 
actors and actresses. The cast was as follows : — 

Polly Peaclium 

Captaiu Maclicath. 



Mrs. Peaclium 


Miss Makgaret Woffington, 
Miss Betty Baknks. 
Master Beamish. 
Miss RuTii Jenks. 
Miss Mackay. 
Master Baiirington. 

The latter became one of the best low comedians 
of his day. 


Amongst tlie valuable collection of broadsides in 
the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, there is 
preserved the following Epilogue. The date would 
relegate it to the 2J<^i"wJ^ wlion the juvcuilo Polly 
Peachum was in the zenith of her popularity, and 
it is not improbable that it was spoken by her. 
Moreover, the same broadside contains three songs, 
several of which bear internal evidence that the 
" Polley" by whom they were sung must have been 
very young. She called herself a " little satyr," and 
again says, " Your Polley raises her artless voice." 
The followmg is a fac-simile of the Epilogue : — 



Spoke and Sung by Polley Peachum at her Benefit. 


A Play with scarce a Song — 'Tis gross Offence, 

How ! Please an Audience so polite — witli Sense ; 

Prodigious ! thus so many hours to sit 

Squeezed up and mortified with Gongreve's wit : 

Ladies and Beaux, I own 'tis wond'rous hard 

To be so long from dear Quadrille debar'd. 

Poor DUBLIN — how thou'rt over-run with Folly, 

Cards, Scandal, Beggar's Ojicra and Polley ! 

Toys to kill Time, and scape the Plague of Thinking, 

Wonderful alacrity in Sinking. 

But yet for once — tho' much 'tis out of Season, 
Doign to excuse the Impertinence of Reason — 


Fear not your OPERA shall again delight ye, 

And to the hundredth Night we will invite ye. 

Again the Newgate-Nymphs, in Rival Strains, 

Shall melt your Hearts for brave Macheath in Chains ; 

The Partij-Colour'd-Gentry yet shall roar, 

And the Pit echo with a loud Encore ; 

The Gallery-Dames behold their lov'd Grimace 

And the great Tyburn-llcro's rueful Face, 

But to dismiss ye now without a SONG — 

'Twere barbarous indeed — for some may long, 

But Raillery apart — Perhaps you'll say. 

Well may She sing, lohen We the Piper fay. 

The novelty of the conception attracted much 
attention, and everybody flocked to .see the won- 
deriid clul(h-en. Other plays and farces wei'O 
acted, and for a time all went merry as a marriage 
bell. Peg Woffington's mother used to sell oranges 
to the theatre-goers at the entrance to Fownes' 
Court, where, when the performance was over, her 
lovely daughter used to join her, and help to carry 
home the empty baskets and any that remained 
of the stock-in-trade. 

But a rival theatre was opened in Smock Alley,* 
and the performances in the Fownes' Street booth 
failed to attract the audiences they had hitherto 
done. Madame Violante held out as long as she 
could, but at length was obliged to let the booth 
to some of her former pupils for the sum of three 
pounds a week. They were in hopes of retrieving 
its failing fortunes, but finally they were obliged 

* A Roman Catholic chapel now occupies the site of this theatre. 


to abandon the scheme, and in 1735 Madame Vio- 
lante's dancmg booth, the nursery of some of the 
first performers who have ever trod the boards, 
was closed for ever. 

Peg Woffington was now about sixteen, and her 
performances had attracted no small amount of 
attention. She had no difficulty in procuring an 
engagement in the new theatre in Smock AUey, 
where she used to dance between the acts. But 
the young Irish girl was ambitious. She wanted 
to do something more than dance, and earnestly 
begged to be given a part, no matter how small. 
Her request was scornfully rejected, and poor 
Peggy was told — and this even in the Irish capital 
— that bocaiiKo of her dissonant voice and very 
pronounced brogue, she would never be an actress. 
Deeply mortified, she was thinkmg of quitting the 
profession, when a fortuitous circumstance turned 
the scales in her favour. 

A favourite actress, who had been duly announced 
to play the part of Ophelia, was suddenly incapa- 
citated from doing so. At the eleventh hour the 
part was offered to Peg Woffington, who had 
never played a serious character m her life. With 
true Irish audacity she accepted the character, and 
on February 12th, 173G, made her bow before a 
Dublin audience in that most subtle and sensuous 
of Shakspeare's female creations. 


So Peo- Woffington played Ophelia, and played 
it well too, notwithstanding the disadvantage of 
beino- attired in an ill-fitting black velvet gown 
and spangles. It was the grandest gown in the 
theatrical wardrobe, and tlie lively Peggy was 
wont to say, many a day after, that wlion she put 
it on she "felt Ophelia all over." But althongh her 
rendering of the part gave universal satisfaction, 
and greatly enhanced her popularity, yet her 
crowning triumph was still to come. 

In appearance Peg Woffington Avas above the 
middle height, her figure was perfect, and her com- 
plexion of a dazzling fairness. She had an abun- 
dance of the true blue-black Irish hair, large black 
eyes, with long lashes and exquisitely pencilled 
eyebrows. So Hogarth paints " The Woffington," 
lying on a couch, "dallying and dangerous."* She 
wivs never seen to such advantage as in playing 
male characters, and her impersonation of Sir 
Harry Wildair, in " The Constant Couple," at once 
compelled the public to acknowledge her as facile 
princeps in her art. It was in the beginning of 
April, 1740, that she &st appeared in this, which 
was ever after her favourite character. She was 
just twenty, in the first flush of her youth and 
beauty, and completely turned the heads of 

* This picture hangs in the Garrick Club. 


Dublin's proverbially play-loving population. The 
papers were enthusiastic in their praises of her, 
and the morning after her first impersonation of 
Si)' Harry Wildair the following lines appeared iji 
one of them : — 

Peggy — the darling of the men, 

In Polly, won each heart ; 
But now she cajitivates again, 

And all must feci the smart. 

Her charms, resistless, conquer all. 

Both sexes vanquished lie. 
And who to Polly scorned to fall. 

By Wildair ravished lie. 

Would lavish Nature, who her gave 

This double power to please. 
In pity give her both to aavo, 

A double power to case. 

The following story concerning her first visit to 
London reads more like romance than plain matter- 
of-fact ; but then from, beginning to end her career 
was full of romance. The nari'atlvo runs thus : — 

" At this epoch, with professional fame and 
fortune in her grasp, she left the stage suddenly, 
and went to England with an admii-er whose 
addresses she had for some time received with 
favour, and who beguiled her from Dublm by 
talking of marriage while engaged from mercenary 
views to another. She discovered his perfidy, and 
played off a fair counterstroke in return. Habited 

VOL. L K. 


as an officer, and attended by a male servant, slie- 
went down to the country to the lady's residence, 
a few days before the intended maniage. A 
public ball was given by some of the family to 
celebrate the approaching event. To this she ob- 
tained an invitation, and so disguised herself by 
painting eyebrows, moustache, &c., and by using 
other theatrical arts, that she escaped discovery 
even by her faithless friend. She watched an 
opportunity, had the address to engage the bride- 
elect to walk a minuet with her, and also to 
become her partner for the remainder of the even- 
ing. She then took an opportunity of discovering 
the real character of the lover, and showed some of 
his letters, containing protestations of eternal fide- 
lity to Peg Woffington, an actress. The traitor's 
match was broken off, and his mistress dismissed 
him in scorn. Some accounts add that the dis- 
appointed bride fell in love with the dashing young 
militaire, and would have married him on the spot 
to complete her revenge." 

Deserted by her faithless swain, Peg Woffmgton 
found herself alone in London, with only her own 
ready wit to rely upon as a means of procuring a 
Hvelihood. She accordingly sought out the re- 
nowned John Pich, the patentee and manager of 
Covent Garden Theatre, the inventor and em- 
peror of pantomimes. No less than eighteen visits 


did slie pay to his sanctum without being able to 
gain admittance. On the nineteenth, the irascible 
Irishwoman exclaimed to the footman, " Go and 
tell yOur master my name is Woffington, that I 
came to ask for an engagement, and shall come no 

The footman obeyed. 

" Is she an Irishwoman 1" inquii-cd the lazy 
Eich, with some show of animation. 

" Slie talks hke a furriner, sir," was the reply. 


" More like a hangel than any woman as ever 
I seed !" exclaimed the Cerberus enthusiasti- 

"Then show her up, by aU means," decided the 
mannger ; and in few moments Peg Woffington, 
radiant in her youth and beauty, and with a glow 
of indignation yet manthng upon her fair cheek, 
stood in the Presence. 

She found Picli lolling on a sofa, with a play- 
book in one hand and a china cup in the other, 
from which he sipped his tea. Around and about 
liim were seven- and- twenty cats, of different sizes, 
at play — toms and tabbies, brindles and tortoise- 
shells, wliitc, black, and red ; some staring and 
solemnly winkmg at him, some eating the toast 
out of his mouth, some hcking milk from a saucer, 
some frisking, others demurely seated on the floor, 

K 2 


and others perclied on his shoulders, arms, knees, 
and even on his head. A grimalkin instead of a 
laurel-wreath formed a more suitable crown for the 
genius of pantomime. 

The result of the interview was that Ilich engaged 
the Irish actress in spite of her brogue. From a 
MS. playbill* we learn that on November 6th, 
1740, would be performed "The Kecruiting Officer" 
— Sylvia, " Miss Woffington, her first appearance 
in England." She was most enthusiastically re- 
ceived, and repeated the character several times 
during the same month. It is significant that on 
the second evening of her performance in London 
she assumed the title of Mrs., which she ever after 
retained. There is no clue of any kind as to her 
reason for so doing, but it is probable she may have 
thought it added to her independence and impor- 

Mrs. Woffington next played Sir Harry Wildair 
— her favourite character. Her success in this part 
in London was even greater than it had been in 
Dublin. It was then, and for long afterwards, the 
custom to change the play nearly every night ; but 
so great was the excitement occasioned by the 
advent of this new actress, that she played Sir 
Harry Wildair for twenty consecutive nights. 

* In British Museum Library. 


Moreover, slie achieved even a greater triumph. 
Hitherto, Wilkes had been considered as the 
model for Sir Harry Wildair; but the originahty 
of Mrs. WolBngton's impersonation took tlie 
audience by storm. They were perfectly electri- 
fied to find the dashing, high-bred rake acted by a 
woman ; and with so much ease, elegance, and pro- 
priety of demeanour, such lightness and freedom of 
action, and with a total absence of all feminine 

At this period the green-room of Covent Garden 
Theatre must have been an amusmg place wherein 
to spend half an hour. There was the gentle and 
humorous Garrick, who appreciated wit but was 
never ready with an answer ; tlicro was his tor- 
mentor, sharp-tongued Kitty Clive; the cynical 
Quin ; the foolish and somewhat stupid Susannah 
Gibber ; and last, though not least, " that auda- 
cious Irishwoman," Margaret Woffington. The 
latter and Kitty Glive hated one another cordially, 
and lost no opportunity of sayhig spiteful things of 
each other. "A pretty face," said Kitty Clive to 
Mrs. Woffington, " of course excuses a multi^ilica- 
tion of lovers !" " And a plain one," retorted the 
witty Woffington, " insures a vast overflow of un- 
marketable virtue !" On one occasion, after having 
been more enthusiastically apphiuded than usual 
in her character of Sir Harry Wildair, Mrs. Wof- 


fington rushed excitedly into the green-room, and 
exchiimed in great glee — 

" Mr. Quin ! Mr. Quin ! I really believe half the 
house take me for a man !" 

" The other half know the contrary, madame," 
re])licd the cynical Quin. 

Instead of being ofl'ended she laughed heartily, 
and with infinite zest used to repeat the joke 
against herself. 

Still keeping to the MS. playbills, we find that 
during the season of 1741-42 Mrs. Wofiington had 
accepted an engngoment with Fleetwood, the 
manager of Drury Lane Theatre. Here she con- 
siderably added to her stock of characters. She 
played Sylvia, Sir Harry Wildair, Rosalind in "As 
You Like it," and Rutli, in the now but little 
known play of " The Committee." She added to 
her list Lady Brute, Berinthia in " The llelapse," 
Mrs. Sidlen Belinda in "The Man of Mode," and 
Lady Betty Modish in "The Careless Husband," a 
character for which she was afterwards celebrated. 
Also she played during this engagement Cordelia to 
Garrick's Lear, and was announced for llelejia in 
"All's Well that Ends Well," but was taken 
suddenly ill, and fainted away as she stood at the 
wing ready to go on. 

Before the season was half over Mrs. Woffington 
had become the fashion. All the women were 


jealous of her, and all the men Avere madly in love 
with her.* Garrick was her devoted slave. He 
wrote the song of " Lovely Peggy" in token of his 
adoration, and a poor token it is. At least the 
verses arc nsvially attrihuted to "the ingenious 
Mr. Garrick," but some recent research throws 
rather a doubt upon the accuracy of tlie .statement, 
for amongst Sir C. H. WiUiams's papers a copy of 
them was found ; and it is also worthy of note 
that they are not included ui the volume of his 
own poems which Garrick carefully prepared for 
the press. However, as no notice of Mrs. Woffing- 
ton could be considered complete without them, 
liere they are. 


Once more I'll tuuc the vocal slicll. 
To liills ami ilalcs my passion tell, 
A ilauic -wliicli time can never quell, 
,. That burns for thee, my Peggy I 

Yet greater bards the lyre shall hit, 
Or say what subject is more fit, 
f Than to record the sjiarkling wit 

Ami bloom of lovely I'eggy. 

The sun first rising in the morn 
That paints the dow-bcsjiauglotl lawn. 
Does not so much the day adorn 
As does my lovely Peggy. 

* " So you cannot Itcar Mrs. Wollington, yet all tlio town ifi in 
.Tov-e with her. To say the trutli, I am glad to find Komtjbody to 
Icecp me in countenance, for 1 think she is an impudent Irish-faceJ. 
-girl." — Ru7'ace Waljwle's Letters. 


And when in Thetis' lap to rest 
He streaks with gold the ruddy West, 
She's not so beauteous as, undrest. 
Appears my lovely Peggy. 

While bees from flower to flower shall rove. 
And linnets warble through the grove, 
Or stately swans the rivov lovo. 
So long shall I lovo Peggy. 

And when Death with his pointed dart 
Shall strike the blow that rives my heart. 
My words shall be, when I depart. 
Adieu, my lovely Peggy ! 

Tlie now generally repnted author of tliese 
verses, Sir C. llaubury Williams, was at tliis time 
Garrick's rival in Mrs. Woffington's affections. They 
wooed her each after his own fashion — the former 
in the style of the " man of parts" of the day — 
coarse, unfeeling, and ungentlemanly. Garrick 
was more serious in liis love-making. He tried to- 
touch her mind as well as her heaii, for he saw 
that beneath all her irreofularities of conduct there 
lay a noble nature. There is no doubt but that 
he wished to marry the fascinating actress. When- 
ever he attempted to speak seriously to her upon 
the subject she always had some excuse ready, and 
put off the conversation to a more convenient 
season, which never came. Mrs. Woffington is 
usually described as a vain, flighty, and vacillating; 
person, and her behaviour in keeping Ganick. 


lianging about lier for so many years lias been 
severely censured. There are more aspects than 
one ui which her conduct in this matter may be 
viewed. She was a woman of a very loving nature; 
many of her actions prove this, and it is quite 
possible that the early attachment to which allu- 
sion has been made may have exerted its influence 
over her hfe. Until after she had been deserted 
by her faithless lover, there had not been a blemish 
upon her character ; but thrown upon her own 
resources in London — friendless, betrayed, her love 
and her pride alike outraged — it is then we hear of 
her becommg reckless, first taking up with one 
lover, then with another, to one constant never.* 
Garrick, tlio only one wlio seemed to recognise the 
higher nature in the witty actress, certainly seems 
to have been the only one whom she ever seriously 
thought of marrying. 

It is very much to Peg Woffington's credit that, 
no sooner was she able to do so, than she at once 
placed her mother in a comfortable position and 
beyond the cares of ^loverty for the remauider of 
her life. For many years the old woman might have 
been seen going about hi Dublin, from one Ptoman 

* " Somebody asked me at the play the other night, what was 
become of Mrs. Woffington. I rephcd, ' She is taken off by Colonel 
CaDsar.' Lord Tyrawlcy said, ' I suppose she was reduced to aut 
Cocsar aut nulliis.' " — U. Walpole' s Letters, 1747. 


Catholic chapel to the other, attired in a large 
black velvet mantle, and carrying a gold snnfT-box. 
Neither did the actress neglect her sister. At an 
early age she removed her from her low surround- 
ings in Dublin, and placed her at school in a French 
convent. It is possible that Peg herself felt the 
want of a good education, and was therefore deter- 
mined that her sister should have every advan- 

In the summer of 1742, being then in her twenty- 
tliird year, Mrs. Wofllngton, in company with 
Garj'ick, returned to Dublin. Here she acted with 
him in all her favourite characters. The Garrick 
and Woffinjxton fever was now at its heijxht. The 
enthusiasm of the citizens of Dublin knew no 
bounds. The new character, which chiefly charmed 
tliem, was her rendering of Lady Betty Modish. It 
pleased and amazed them to see the airs and 
aftectations of a toMai madam so aptly portrayed 
by the ci-devant Httle water-carrier of the Lifley. 
Garrick used to say that he owed a great deal of 
his popularity on this, his first visit to Dublin, to 
Mrs, Wofllngton. Slie helped him to understand 
the Irish character, and the great actor, who had 
too much good sense and genius not to take her 
advice, shaped his course accordingly. An amus- 
ing incident occurred during their stay in Dublin. 
All her suitors were jealous of Garrick, especially 


a noble lord who chanced to be her particular 
friend at the time. Garrick called to see her one 
day, and, as was then the custom, he had his head 
shaved and wore a wig. This he took off to cool 
his head, and forgot all about it. In the midst of 

their interview Lord was announced. He 

was a gi'eat patron of the drama, and as neither 
Peg nor Garrick could afford to offend so powerful 
a person, the actor quickly concealed himself to 
avoid increasing the visitor's jealousy. But upon 
the table, right before his lordship, lay the fatal 
wigl He at once recognised it to be that of 
Garrick, and stormed and swore at Peggy, who 
calmly listened to him, and when he had finished 
broke out into an immoderate fit of huighter. 
*' Yes, my lord,^' she exclaimed, "it is certainly 
Mr. Garrick's wig ; and as I am learning a breeches- 
part he was good enough to lend it to me ; so never 
let me hear you talk such jealous nonsense again !" 
The enamoured nobleman believed her ; and thus 
her ready wit saved both herself and Garrick for 
that time. 

Notwithstanding her "deplorable tragedy voice," 
as the Dramatic Censor of the day says, Mrs. 
Wofiington continued to win fresh laurels by her 
rendering of a series of Shakspearian characters. 
Garrick used to say he liked her best as Ophelia, 
and considered that she helped liim to carry out 


his conception of Hamlet better than any other 
actress had ever done. But she chiefly excelled 
in male parts ; they showed off to advantage her 
splendid figure and dasliing air. She undoubtedly 
must have possessed wonderful powers of fascina- 
tion to have in any way pleased her audience in 
her representation of female characters, for all the 
dramatic critics of that period are unanimous in 
saying that her voice was harsh and unpleasing. 
When she appeared as Calisia, in " The Fair Peni- 
tent," the following critique appeared in the 
Dramatic Censor of that week : — 

" Mrs. Wofiington, through an unaccountable 
turn of public caprice, was very well received in 
Calisia, though all her merit was comprehended in 
elegance of figure ; she was a Lady Toionly in 
heroics, and barked out the penitent with as dis- 
sonant notes of voice as ever offended a critical 
ear. We allow she was very pleasing to the eye, 
but highly offensive to cultivated taste. ■'^* 

We have no critique upon her Ophelia, but, not- 
withstanding her dissonant voice, she must have 
been a powerful attraction, for in the manuscript 
playbills of the period — which have been largely 
consulted — we find her over and over again 
announced for sentimental female characters. The 

* Vide Dramatic Censor, vol. i. p. 275. 

mahgabet woffington. ui 

contemporary dramatic criticisms Lave been care- 
fully collated in conjunction with these announce- 
ments, and it is very remarkable that in scarcely 
any instance are they favourable to the actress, and 
they do not contain one word of flattery. 

"We never could admire Mrs. Woffington's 
croaking of this part," says one of her critics, 
when she played Aspasia in " Tamerlane ;" " 'tis 
true she figured it so elegantly, that her fii'st ap- 
pearance prejudiced spectators in her favour ; but 
harmony of person was greatly injured by dis- 
sonance of voice." 

The same critic* observes of her Lady Ran- 
dolph^ — " Mrs. Woffington, whose tragic utterance 
was, ill general, tlio banc of tender cars, never np- 
peared to less advantage than in Lady Randolph ; 
flat in the calm, and dissonant in the impassioned 
passages, "t 

Upon their return to London, in 1743, Mrs. 
Woflington and Garrick were engaged at Drury 
Lane Theatre. They openly lived together, and 
paid the household expenses week about. Their 
friends used to say that the hospitahty was more 
lavish and open-handed durmg Peg's week — a not 
unhkely thing, as Garrick 's parsimony was pro- 

* Francis Gentleman, a native of Dublin, 
t Vide Dramatic Censor, vol. ii. p. 109. 


verbial. She delighted in having a host of people 
at her table. Of course, her erratic style of life 
necessarily shut her out from female society ; but 
she did not care much for that ; she liked the 
society of men very much better, and she said so 
too. Even Doctor Johnson acknowledged her 
seductive manners, and honestly avowed that he 
was afraid of them. Another elderly gentleman 
— Owen McSwiny — was her devoted admirer for 
years, and at his death left her a substantial 
token of his admii-ation, in the shape of 200/. a 
year for her life. This gentleman is referred to 
in the following letter — the only one of Mrs. 
Woffington's which is extant. It is addressed to 
"Master Thomas Robinson." 

"My Pretty little Oroonoko 

*' I'm glad to hear of y' safe arrival in 
Sussex, & that you are so well placed in the noble 
family of Richm*^ &c., for w*^^ I have y® most pro- 
found regard and respect. 

" Sir Thomas Ilobinson v^rote me word y' you 
are very pretty, which has raised my curiosity to 
a great pitch, & it makes me long to see you. 

*' I hear the acting poetaster is w**^ you still, 
at Goodwood, and has had the insolence to brag 
of favours from me ; vain Coxcomb ! 

" I did, indeed, by the persuasion of Mr. Swiny 


and Ills assistance answer the simpleton's nauseous 
lett'— foil 1 

"He did well, truly, to tlirow my letf^ into 
the fire, otherwise it must have made him appear 
more ridiculous than liis armour at Bath did, or 
his cudgel playing with y® rough Irisli man. 

" Saucy Jackanapes ! to give it for a reason for 
the burning my letter, tliat there were expressions 
too tender & too passionate in it to be shown. 

" I did in an ironical way (which the booby 
took in a htteral sense), comphm* both myself 
& him, on the success we shared mutually, on 
his first appearance on y^ stage, and that which 
he had (all to liimselfe) in the part of Carlos in 
Love makes a Man; when with an undaunted 
modesty ho withstood tlie attacks of his foes 
armed with catt-calls and other offensive weapons. 

" I did, indeed, give him a little double meaning 
touch, on the expressive and graceful motion of 
his hands and arms, as assistants to his energick 
Avay of delivering y" i)oots scntim*", & w""' he 
must have learned from y^ youthful manner of 
spreading plaisters when he was aprentice. 

"These, these I say, were the true motives to 
his burning the Lett'", and no passionate expres- 
sions of muie. 

" I play the part of S"" Harry Wildair to-night, 
& can't recollect w* I said to the impertinent 


monster in my letf, nor have I time to say any 
more now, but y* you shall hear from me by the 
next post, & if Swiny has a copy of it or I can 
recover the chief articles in it, you shall have em. 
" I am (my D"^ Black boy) 
"With my duty to then- Graces, 

*' Y"^ admirer & humble serv', 

"Margaret Woffington. 

« Saturday, X*" 18tli 1743. 


Master Thomas Robinson 
At Goodwood 

The foregoing is a characteristic letter, not 
alone because of the sly, satirical touches with 
which it abounds, but as an instance of the pains 
which little ignorant Peg Woffuigton, tlie Trisli 
bricklayer's daughter, must have taken to educate 
herself Indeed, let her foibles be what they may, 
she took every opportunity of improving her edu- 
cation, with a view to rising in her profession. 
She even went over to Paris, to study pathetic 
parts under the tuition of the famous Made- 
moiselle Dumensil. She essayed tragedy, which 
she played in the orthodox stilted style then in 
vogue ; but she excelled in comedy. In the latter, 
she could give full swing to all the vivacity of her 


temperament ; and her extreme uiiconventionalitj, 
and her scorn of stage traditions, seem to have in 
no small degree contributed to her success. 

On Saint Patrick's Day, 1743, the Irish actress 
took her first benefit at Drary Lane. Upon this 
occasion she resigned her favourite character of 
JSir Harry Wildair to Garrick, who played it very 
badly. Mrs. Woffington contented herself with a 
subordinate part, and during the play was chiefly 
employed in prompting the hero. Even in the 
zenith of her professional career Mrs. Wofimgton 
never refused to play for a benefit. Hitchcock, 
the prompter of the Dublin theatre, in his accurate 
and painstaking " History of the Irish Stage," says 
of her : — 

"To her honour be it ever remembered, that 
whilst thus m the zenith of her glory, courted and 
caressed by all ranks and degrees, it made no 
alteration in her behaviour ; she remained the same 
{jay, affable, obliging^ good-natured Woffington to 
every one around her. She had none of those occa- 
sional illnesses which I have sometimes seen 
assumed by capital performers, to the great vexa- 
tion and loss of the manager and disappointment of 
the public. She always acted four times each week. 

" Not the lowest performer in the theatre did 
she refuse playmg for. Out of twenty-six benefits 
she acted in twenty -four, and one of the other two 

VOL. I. L 


was for Mrs. Lee, who cliose to treat the town 
with an exhibition of her own JiiHet. Such traits 
of character must endear the memory of Mrs. Wof- 
fington to every lover of the drama."* 

Mrs. Woffington was living at Teddington at 
this time — about 1745 — ai\d there made the 
acquaintance of George Anne Bellamy and her 
mother. The latter she had been acquainted with 
in Dublin, and with true Irish hospitality at once 
invited the two ladies to come and stay with hei' 
for some time. The invitation was acceptcid, and 
in her "Apology" George Anne Bellamy says : — 

" The general topic of conversation among my 
associates was confined to theatrical affairs, with 
which I was totally unacquainted till I was intro- 
duced mto this circle. The charms of novelty, 
however, rendered it agreeable. Whilst we stayed 
here it was agreed on to perform the tragedy of 
the ' Distressed Mother,' in order to make a trial 
of Miss Polly WoflPington's abiHties, who was 
intended by her sister for the stage. My mother 
and ]\Irs. Woffington played the attendants ; Mr. 
Garrick, Orestes ; Mr. Sullivan, a Fellow of Trinity 
College, Dublin, Pyrrus ; Miss Woffington, Her- 
mione ; and Andromache fell to my lot. 

"In this performance, though my first, Mr. 

* Hitclicock, vol. ii. p. 223. 


Garrick observed that I was muck more in earnest 
than the young lady who had been accustomed to 
theatrical amusements ; and though I was inferior 
in beauty to my fair rival, and without the advan- 
tages of dress which she enjoyed, yet the laurel 
was bestowed upon me. All the people of fashion 
in the neighbourhood honoured our barn with their 
presence. Among these was the late Sir William 
Young, who gave it as his opinion tluit I should 
make a figure in a capital line, if ever I came 
upon the stage." 

George Anne Bellamy did go upon the stage, 
and was often a sore thorn in the flesh to Mrs. 
Wofllington. Viewed at this distance of time, 
their little quarrels and petty jealousies seem 
almost hidicrous and childish. Now and again 
Bellamy gives her brilliant countrywoman credit 
for playing " with her usual eclat," but they were 
intensely jealous of each other nevertheless. 
George Anne delightedly records how she secured 
the attentions of Sir George Metham, much to the 
annoyance of Mrs. Woffington, " who seemed to 
expect to have the tribute of admiration from 
every one first paid to her." 

Upon the revival of Loc's tragedy of ''Alex- 
ander," Mrs. Bellamy had ordered two new dresses 
from Paris, in which to appear as " The Persian 
Princess." Bich, the manager, heard of this, and 



as Mrs. WoffiiiGfton was notorious for the careless- 
iiess of her dress, he purchased for her a suit of 
the Princess Dowager of Wales, to be worn by the 
actress in the character of Roxana. Mrs. Woffing- 
ton knew nothing of Mrs. Bellamy's new Paris 
dress, a.nd was secretly delighting in the opj^or- 
tunity of appearing so magnificently attired before 
her rival. Her rage and disappointment knew no 
bounds when they met in the green-room, and she 
beheld Mrs. Bellamy appear in all the grandeur of 
her new Parisian robes. 

" I desire, madam," exclaimed the enraged 
Boxana, " you will never more, upon any account, 
wear those clothes in the piece we perform 
to-night !" 

" I know not, madam," replied the Persian 
Princess, " by what right you take upon you to 
dictate to mo wliat I shall wear ; and I. a,ssuro 
you, madam, you must ask it in a very dill'erent 
manner before you obtain my compliance," 

A quarrel ensued, in which Mrs. WoiEngton had 
the best of it for the time being ; but the next 
night Mrs. Bellamy made her appearance in the 
other new gown. This so incensed the hot-tem- 
pered Peggy that she drove her rival off the stage, 
and gave her the coup de gi^ace almost behind the 
scenes. The audience — who knew pretty well the 
terms upon, which they were on — were alternately 


convulsed with laughter or testified their displea- 
sure by calls for Mrs. Bellamy. " Being now ready 
to burst with the contending passions which agi- 
tated her bosom, she told me it was avcU for me 
that I had a Minister* to supply my extravagance 
with jewels and such paraphernalia. Struck with 
so unmerited and cruel a reproach, my asperity 
became more predominant than my good-nature, 
and I replied I wns sorry that even half the town 
could not furnish a supply equal to the Minister 
she so illiberally hinted at. Finding I had got 
myself into a disagreeable predicament," continues 
Mrs. Bellamy, "and recollecting the well-known 
disticli, that 

IIo who fiylits, and runs away, 
May live to fight anothei* day, 

I made as quick an exit as possible, notwithstand- 
ing I wore the regalia of a queen. But I was 
obliged in some measure to the Comte for my 
safety, as his Excellency covered my retreat, and 
stopped my enraged rival's pursuit. I slioidd 
otherwise have stood a chance of appearing in the 
next scene with black eyes, instead of the blue 
ones which Nature had given me. " 

The daring and inexha.ustil)lo Samuel Foote 
profited by this behaviour of the two Irish ac- 

* Mr. Fox. 


tresses, for the next summer he produced a piece 
called " The Green-room Squabble ; or, a Battle 
Koyal between the Queen of Babylon and the 
Daughter of Darius." In this inimitable little pro- 
duction, the idiosyncrasies of tlie belligerents are 
hit off cai)itally. Mi-s. Bellamy's ailectation of 
calm superiority and injured and libelled innocence 
are excellent foils to Peggy's recklessness of speech 
and pungent wit and repartee. After this quarrel 
they never spoke to each other again, althougli 
often acting in the same theatre and in the same 
piece, until the impulsive Peggy lay upon her 
deathbed, when she sent for Mi-s. Bellamy. She 
there confessed that she had once done her a secret 
and intentional injury, by prevailing upon one of 
her lovers to show Mr. Fox a letter of Mrs. Bel- 
lamy's which had fallen into her hands, the con- 
tents of whicli would admit of a diircrcut ijitoipre- 
tation than that which it was designed to convey. 

Mrs. Woffington, who was very sensitive of ridi- 
cule, was very angry with Foote, yet the playbills 
for the same year show her as playing with him at 
Drury Lane, then under the management of Lacy, 
who had succeeded Fleetwood. Moreover, the 
bills surprise us by showing Foote as Sir Harry 
Wildair, and Mrs. Woffington — the only true Sir 
Harry — as Lady Lovewell. 

Yet another actor from the Irish stage ! In the 


year 1746, Barry made liis first appearance in 
London at Drnry Lane. This theatre was, at tliat 
time, without a single good actor — save Foote, and 
he was only good in humorous and semi-grotesque 
parts. Garrick and Quin were hotli at Govent 
Garden, consequently this new tragedian was 
received with open arms at the rival theatre. The 
new actor's great character was Othello, in which, if 
lie did not absolutely take the town by storm, he 
at all events pleased his audience, for the })lay ran 
for fifteen nights. Then came Lord Townly, with 
Mrs. Wofhngton as Lady Townly. The latter 
piece was the more successful, owing, no doubt, 
to Mrs. Woffington's appearing in it. 

For Honie Llmo j);ist {\\vv(^ bad l)Con a cooIdosh 
between Garrick and Mi's. Wollington. She had 
tried to di'aw him on again, but he had resisted. 
Such being the state of affairs, it must have been 
awkward for both when, in 1747, Garrick became 
part proprietor and stage-manager of Drury Lane. 
His love fit had very decidedly cooled, and as he 
brought v/itli him from Govent Garden Mrs. 
Gibber and Mrs. Pritchard, he foresaw rivalries, 
jealousies, and clashings, which, though amusing to 
the partisans of the contending heroines, and re- 
dolent of fun to the green-room, are death to the 
peace of the hapless manager, who must humour 
them as he may. The season, however, passed off 


without any deadly explosion ; but at the close of 
it, Mrs, Woilington went ofT again to her old master, 
Rich, who was only too glad to engage her. 

In a pecuniary sense, Mrs. Woffington did not 
benefit by the change of theatres. She had had nO' 
quarrel with her managers, and there is no reason 
given for her leaving Drury Lane ; none, save 
caprice. But we must look for a reason ; for Mrs. 
Woffington, despite the gay life she led, was too> 
good a business woman to throw up an engagement,, 
or to leave a manager in the lurch ii])on the spur of 
the moment. Is it not possible that tlic marriage 
of Garrick, wliich took place m 1748^ may have been 
the cause ? There is no doubt but that Mrs. 
Woffington felt some tenderness for him, and his 
wife being a woman possessing youth, beauty,, 
wealth, and a good position in society, Peggy may 
have felt that in some of these matters invidious- 
compaiisons might be drawn, and her Irish pride 
rebelled at it. Garrick manied a dancer, a Made- 
moiselle Violette, who was patronised by the Earl 
and Countess of Burlington. " The httle great 
man" dearly loved a lord, and was often at the 
houses of the first nobility. There he saw the fas- 
cinating Viennese, who received as her dowry 
6000/. and a casket of jewels.. 

Mi's. Woffington remained with Bich at Covent 
Garden imtil the beginning of 1 7 5 1. This, engage.- 


ment was cliiefly remarkable for the continual dis- 
sensions between the manager and the performers. 
There was no discipline maintained in the theatre ; 
and the actors despised the lazy and luxurious 
llich, who returned the feeling. Moreover, the 
performers themselves were not on the best of 
terms Avith each other. Quin disliked Bariy ; 
Barry disliked Quin. Mrs. Woffington and Mrs. 
Gibber made no secret of their mutual dislike. 
Garrick tried to get Quin over to Drury Lane, 
where he would have kept him in order, but Quin 
did not choose to be subordinate to his former 
partner. Accordingly, he stayed with Kich, who 
gave him 1000/. a year, the largest salary ever 
]<novvn at tlint time to have bec)i given to an 
actor. Mrs. Woffington had only 9/. a week, for 
which she was very thankful ; and was ever ready 
to show her respect for the public, and her willing- 
ness to promote the interest of her employers. 

The actors had fallen into indifferent and careless 
habits, niid Ix^g.'iu to send excuses continuo.lly. 
Messages to say they were ill — sent, moreover, late 
in the day — were the rule, not the exceptions. 
Mrs. Gibber was suffering from her spasms ; Barry 
was hoarse ; Quin had the gout, and so forth. At 
these times Mrs. Woffington was the prop of the 
theatre ; for the comedies in which she was an at- 
traction were usually substituted, and the invahd 


actors announced for another night. But it is not 
fair to spur a wiUing horse, and the obhging 
actress was so overworked that she was at length 
obUged to complain. She declared that the next 
time such a thing happened that she would have 
spasms also ; nnd she kept her word. 

" By tliis time the public began to murmur at 
their frequent disappointments, and took it into 
their heads that they and Bich were victimised by 
the humours of the company. On the next indis- 
jjosiHon they determined to resent it. Precisely at 
this time Mi's. WolFinaton siiiMiiriod her refusal. 
On her next appearance, in Lady Jane Grey, the 
whole weight of their displeasure fell upon her. 
She looked more beautiful than ever that night. 
Her anger gave a glow to her complexion, and even 
added lustre to her charming eyes. The audience 
treated her very severely, bade her ask pardon, 
and threw orange-peels. She behaved with great 
resolution, and treated their rudeness with glorious 
contempt. She left the stage, and was called 
upon to reappear. With infinite persuasion she 
was prevailed upon to comply. She walked down 
to the footlights, and told them she was ready and 
willing to perform her character if they chose to 
permit her ; that the decision rested with them. 
On or c»^' just as they pleased ; it was a matter of 
indifference to her, and that this was the last time 


of asking. The 07is had it, and all went on 
smoothly afterwards. But she always persisted 
in attributing tliis cabal to Kich's particular 

Mrs. Wofiington would not forgive this insult, 
and the consequence was, that as soon as ever her 
engagement at Drury Lane ended, she went off to 
Dublin, confident of procuring an engagement m 
her native city. 

Mrs. Bland, formerly Miss Bomanzini, was then 
the reigning theatrical queen in the Irish capital, 
and Sheridan was the proprietor of the Smock 
Alley Theatre. Victor, his stage-manager and 
factotum, had had a letter from Colley Gibber, in 
which the ancient laureate mentioned how very 
much improved Mrs. Wolfington wo,s, and recom- 
mended her to the notice of Sheridan. The latter, 
after demurring for some time, finally consented to 
engage her for the season of 1751-52 at 400/. and 
a benefit. It turned out a good speculation for 
Sheridan ; and Victor, in a letter to the Countess of 
Orrery, dated October 21st, 1751, says :—" Mrs. 
Wofiington is the only theme in or out of the 
theatre. Her performances were in general ad- 
mirable. She a|)peared ui Ladi/ Toimly, and since 
Mrs. Oldfield I have not seen a complete Lady 
Townhj tiU that night. In Andromache her grief 
was dignified, and her deportment elegant. In 


Jane Shore nothing appeared remarkable but her 
superior figure. But in llermione she discovered 
such talents as have not been displayed since Mrs. 
Porter. In sliort, poor Bland is inevitably undone. 
For those fools, her greatest admirers, who had not 
sense enough to see her defects before, now see 
them by the comparison." 

The star of Mrs. Bland's popularity had been 
completely eclipsed, and she accepted an engage- 
ment at Covent Garden. Mrs. Woflington now 
reigned alone. She had set up a grand carriage, 
with a couple of powdered footmen, and plunged 
into all kind of gaiety. This was certainly the 
most brilliant period of her life ; and her engage- 
ment for the next season was hailed with delight 
by all classes. Sheridan doubled her salary, and 
had no reason to think she was overpaid. Lord 
Dorset was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the 
time, and is referred to in the following verses, 
which appeared in The Gentleman's Magazine for 
December, 1751. They are addressed to Mrs. 
Wolfington, and recount her success in portraying 
Shakspearian characters. In conclusion the poet 
says : 

Noi* slialt thou want the tributary lay, 
O Sheridan ! 'Tis what the muse should pay. 
Long had the Goths and Vandals of the age, 
Oppos'd the reformation of the stage, 
l^air Virtue, frighted by the lawless crew, 
With her attendant, Decency, withdrew ; 


By tliee restored, once more the goddess shines, 
And forms our morals by her Shakspeare's lines. 
For this we owe you much, but more is due, 
We owe our darling Woffington to you ; 
Tour mutual talents shall adorn the scene, 
And add now lustre to a Dorset's reign. 

In unearthing these details respecting Mrs. 
Woffington, a curious old broadside has turned 
up. It was printed in Dublin, during this en- 
gjigcmcnt of liors with Slieridan. The typo and 
the paper arc equally bad, and the name of the 
author does not appear. There is reason to 
believe that this is the only copy of the poem 
extant, and as it has never been introduced into 
any previous life of Mrs. WofEngton, it is here 
given in full. 



The Muses having lately met 
To settle their poetic State ; 
The Sock and Buskin 'gan to far 
(For Females still were fond of War) 
And of each other Jealous grown, 
Resolved to pull each other down ! 

Yet all the Motive must commend, 
'Twas which was Virtue's better Friend, 
Whose scholars too could represent 
Best what the Muse and Poet meant. 

* The original is preserved amongst the " tracts" in the British 
Museum Library. 


Elate with Hope tliey take the field, 

And armed with Reason scorn to yield ; 

As conscious of superior worth, 

First stepp'd the Buskin'd Heroin forth ; 

Her solemn Air & sable Train 

Were Prologue to her Pompous Strain. 

'Tis mine, she said, in Courts to shino, 
By me the Hero grows divine ; 
'Tis mine to crush the haughty Great, 
And raise the modest to his Seat ; 
To strike the guilty Mind with Fear, 
And from the Harden'd force a Tear ; 
To raise, depress, or melt the Heart 
(My Sheridan's and Garrick's art), 
With heroes I adorn the stage. 
And into virtue charm the age. 

Here interposed the Comic Maid : 
But still your subjects are the Dead, 
You show what former worlds have been, 
In me the present Age is seen ; 
Like me, if you would banish Crimes, 
Hold forth a Mirror to the Times. 
Besides, how little were your Power, 
Was Folly left to reign secure P 
For Folks are now not over nice, 
But soon from Folly step to Vice : 
To mend Mankind you must begin. 
And teach them first to fly from Sin. 
If Pritchard or if Clive deride. 
Port Dulness drops its saucy Pride ; 
And those who laugh at Reason's Rule, 
Smart at my strokes of Ridicule, 
For Fools ill brook the name of Fool. 
Thus quarrel'd they like Man and Wife, 
And thus Apollo ends the Strife. 

Rivals no more contend for Fame — 

By differ'n't means your End's the same, 


And lest these Players should divide You, 

Let my Advice and Wisdom guide You ; 

You two against them all combine, 

And ev'ry Pow'r to one assign, 

Blend Spirit, Softness, Taste, and Sense, 

And from a finish 'd ExcoUcnco 

Be this the Darling of your Care, 

And make your Choice among the Fair. 

They strait agi-eed, but left the Choice 
To rest upon his Godship's Voice, 
Who, glad to bid the QuaiTcl cease, 
Named Woffmgton, and all was Peace. 

Mrs. WoflSngton remained three years iii Dublin 
upon this occasion. Hers was not alone a social, 
but a pecuniary success. Lady Townly, Maria, 
Sir Harry Wildair, and IJermione, she performed 
in, ten times each, and to these was taken tlie 
enormous sum of 4000/, This was unprecedented 
upon the Irish stage. Moreover, it should be re- 
membered, they were four old stock plays, and in 
two of them, Sheridan, whose name was a tower 
of strength, did not act. This is a strong ar- 
gument in favour of Mrs. Wofhngton's popularifcy. 

With the original Beefsteak Club the name of 
Mrs. Woffington must ever be associated. It was 
mstituted by Sheridan in 1754, and the favonrite 
actress was installed as president. In Geneste's 
" History of the Stage" he says that there was a club 
of ancient institution in every theatre, where the 
performers dined one day in the week together 


(generally Saturday), and authors and other literary 
people were admitted members. But in this club 
instituted by Sheridan he was at the sole expense, 
and the persons invited were chiefly Members of 
Parliament. No female was admitted but Mrs. 
Woffington, who, as president, sat in a great chair 
at the head of the table. It will easily be imagined 
that a club where there were good accommodation, 
such a lovely president, and nothing to pay, must 
soon become remarkably fashionable. It did so. 
Mrs. Woflington was delighted with the novelty 
of her situation, and had wit and spirit to support 
it. The table was constantly filled with her friends, 
who happened all to be courtiers ; and as not a 
glass of wine was drunk at that time in Ireland 
without first naming the toast, it is easy to guess 
at the sort of toasts constantly given at that chib. 
At this juncture politics ran very lilgh, and as 
persons from the opposite party were often intro- 
duced by their friends as occasional visitors, the 
conversation and toasts of this weekly assembly 
became the common talk of the town. Sheridan 
was severely censured for being the supporter of 
it, as he undoubtedly was, and, as manager of the 
theatre and principal actor, was always m the im- 
mediate power of the provoked party. The real 
truth seems to have been, that Sheridan did not 
actually realise the importance which was attached 


to the opinions discussed at these gatherings. But 
at length the storm burst, and that with a fury for 
which none were prepared. 

On February 2nd, 1754, the play of " Mahomet" 
was announced, the cast bemg as follows : — 








Mrs. Woffington, 

AVhilst the play was in rehearsal many passages 
were talked of by the anti-courtiers as pleasing 
them, and which they would not fail to distinguish. 
On the night of representation the pit was filled 
very soon with the leaders of the Country Party, 
and when Digges spoke the following speech — 

If, ye powers divine ! 
Ye mark the movements of this nether world, 
And bring them to account, crush, crush those vipers 
Who singled out by the community 
To guard their lights, shall for a grasp of oi'e, 
Or imUrij office, sell them to the foe — 

no sooner were the words dehvered than the 
pit party roared encore, which was continued with 
such violence that the actor, after having been for 
a short time astonished, very readily spoke the 
whole speech again, which was again enthusiasti- 
cally applauded. The scenes between the two 
favourites, Sheridan and Mrs. Woffington, passed 



unnoticed ; all the approbation fell to the character 
of Alcanor. 

As this was made a party business, Sheridan 
laid the play aside for one month ; but on March 
2nd it was again announced for representation. 
The day before it was acted Sheridan called the 
company into the green-room, and commented at 
great length upon the party spu'it which, unfortu- 
nately, had marred the previous performance. He 
concluded by saying that in all new cases he rather 
wished to persuade than to command. Digges 
asked to know what were the manager's wishes 
with reference to his conduct on the ensuing 
evening. Sheridan answered that he gave no 
directions, but left him free to act as he thought 
proper. Digges then said : " Sir, if I should com- 
ply with the demands of the audience, and repeat 
the speech, as I did before, am I to incnr your 
censure for doing it ?" "Not at all," replied the 
manager, " I leave you to act in that matter as you 
think proper.'' 

On the night of the performance the pit was 
full as soon as the doors were open, the house 
was crowded, and actors and audience waited for 
the fatal speech in the first scene. The moment 
Digges had spoken it, he was called on to 
repeat it with the same vehemence as on the 
former night. At first he was startled, and stood 


for some time motionless ; at last, on the continued 
fierceness of the encores, he made a gesture to be 
heard. And when silence was obtained, he said : 
" It would give him the greatest pleasure imagi- 
nable to comply with the request of the audience, 
but he had his private reasons for begging they 
would be so good as to excuse him, as his compliance 
would be greatly injurious to him." Instead of grant- 
ing Ills request, tlicy called out, '' Sheridan I 
Sheridan ! " " The Manager ! the Manas: er I " Diefofes 
left the stage. Sheridan ordered the curtam down, 
and sent on the prompter to acquaint the audience 
that they were ready to perform the play, if they 
were suffered to do so without interruption ; if not, 
allporsoiiH wo'o at ]il)oiiy to lalvc tlicir moJiey back 
again. Tlie })rompter c6uld scarcely be heard, and 
the uproar and calls for the manager became more 
violent and more frequent. " They have no right to 
call upon me !" exclaimed Sheridan, in agitation 
and alarm. " I will not obey their caU. I will go 
up to my room and undress myself" lie carried 
his threat into execution, although his friends left 
the pit and boxes, and entreated him to appear- 
and satisfy the audience. Sheridan's conduct in 
this matter was not very lieroic, — the truth was, 
he was afraid of personal violence, so he sneaked 
out, got into a chair, and went home, leaving the 
house in a state of uproar and confusion. 

M 2 


Tlius left to themselves, the perfonners were un- 
certain what to do. Sheridan had deserted them, 
and Digges was afraid to appear. At this juncture 
Mrs. Woffington went before the curtain, to try 
what influence a beautiful woman, and a reigning 
favourite, could have upon the infuriated niultitude. 
But this was only adding fuel to the flame, as her 
political connexions were well known. She was 
obliged to retire without being granted a hearing, 
and Digges, the seeming favoiuite, was induced to 
try and address the mob. He assured them that 
Sheridan had laid him under no injunction not to 
repeat the speech, and therefore on that account 
could not have incurred their displeasure. Digges 
was listened to in profound silence, and when he 
had concluded, the audience infoiined him that 
they must see Sheridan. On being told that the 
manager had left the house, they said they would 
wait for him for an hour. Messengers were sent, 
but no entreaties could prevail upon Sheridan to 
come back to the theatre. When the hour was 
expired, the rioters renewed their call, and after 
continuing it for some time unsuccessfully, deter- 
mined to demolish the house. In a few minutes 
the benches, boxes, &c., were in pieces, and they 
were proceeding to fire the house, when they were 
stopped just in time. 

They attacked the stage, and made a raid upon 


the wardrobe, and Victor, the stage-manager, not 
knowing where they would stop, hastened directly 
to tlie Castle to inform the Lord Lieutenant of the 
danger tlicy wei'o in. Tlio Duke of Dorset said 
the Lord Mayor was the proper person to interfere, 
but he excused himself as being ill with the gout. 
Victor then went in search of the High Sherills of 
both Houses, but could not find them. The Cap- 
tain of the Guard would not march without orders, 
and as the riot at the theatre had been expected, 
and it was known to be a party occasion, the magis- 
trates are supposed to have concealed themselves 

The theatre was demolished as far as its interior 
arrangements wore cojicerncd. Sheridan cpite 
lost the favour of the public. The best course he 
could have adopted would have been to have laid 
the play aside when he knew that its production 
was likel}'' to lead to a riot. The next best thing 
would have been to battle out the danger he had 
braved, and the worst thiiig of all was to fly and 
leave his performers in the lurch. However, he 
repented of this cowardly conduct, and did his 
best to make reparation to the company. " Though 
used wit!) ujiparaJlclcd cruelty," says Hitchcock, 
" and ruined in his fortune past all hopes of re- 
trieving, yet, feeling for tlie performers who were 
innocently involved in his distresses, he resolved 


they should not partake of them ; and, with a 
disinterestedness which will ever do honour to his 
character, generously gave up to them the use of 
the theatre, or what remained of it, with the 
wardrobe and scenery, with the benefits during 
the rest of the season, not only without 
any emolument, but with a certain loss to him- 

After some temporary repairs, the theatre re- 
opened on Marcli T8tli, sixteen days after the I'lot, 
by command of the Duke and Duchess of Dorset, 
for Mrs. Wollhigton's beneiit, when " All for 
Love" was acted to a crowded house. The 
rest of the benefits continued until the middle 
of May, when Mrs. Wofifington returned to 

In the autumn of 1754, Victor, in a letter to the 
Duke of Dorset, says : — " When I waited on Mrs. 
Woffington to take my leave at her setting out for 
London, I told her I thought it for her interest 
as well as ours that she should be engaged the 
next winter there. Slie was greatly disappointed 
at not receiving proposals from me, ujDon wiiich 
I told her she would find Sowdon* in London, 

* Sowdou had euterod into partnership with Victor. Thoy 
took Smock Alley Theatre for two years from Sheridan, and advanced 
him 2000Z. for the use of the wardrobe. — Geuesto, vol. x. p. 392. 


and if it was her desire to return, whatever terms 
they agreed on should have my hearty concurrence. 
They met in consequence ; but as she expected 
lier former salary of 800/., he very wisely got rid 
of the subject as fast as he could. No man has a 
higher sense of her merit than I have ; yet that 
great salary cannot be given, even to her, the 
fourth season, because novelty is the very ^^Arit 
and life of all public entertainments." There are 
sound managerial reasons in this letter, as appli- 
cable now as when they were penned, close on a 
century and a quarter ago. 

Mrs. Wellington went back to her old master, 
Hich, of Covent Garden, who was only too glad to 
rccolvo her. On October 22nd slic made her re- 
ap] )oarancc upon tlie London stage in the character 
of Ifaria, in the "Nonjuror." The return of sucli 
a favourite actress, and one so well acquainted 
with persons in high life, drew a crowded house. 
In consequence of the " Mahomet Riot," Sheridan 
liad been obliu'cd to leave Ireland, and was eno'affcd 
by Hich in place of Barry, who had gone over to 
Dublin. Throughout the season Sheridan played 
many leading Shakspearian characters, with Mrs. 
Woffington as the heroine. " Sheridan, under the 
disadvantages of a moderate person, and still more 
moderate voice, by the effect of sound judgment, 
undoubtedly stands next to Garrick in this cha- 


racter ;"* and, notwithstanding her " deplorable 
tragedy voice," Mrs. Woffington seems to have 
pleased both the performers and the public. 

The season of 175G is chiefly remarkable for our 
heroine's quarrel with Tate Wilkinson. . He was a 
poor gentleman, anxious to go on the stage, which 
he eventually did. Mrs. Woffington was very 
sensitive to ridicule, and having been told that 
Tate Wilkinson had given some burlesque imita- 
tions of her manner of acting, which enraged her, 
one night he was in a stage-l3ox when she was 
acting Clarissa, and was unfortunate enougli to 
attract her attention. Some one in a box above gave 
a shrill laugh, something like Mrs. Woffington's, 
and she, believing Wilkinson to be the culprit, ad- 
vanced to the stage-box and sneered at him. The 
next day, when he was waiting for an audience 
witli Rich, lie says : " Mi'S. Woflington passed 
through the room ; and without a word, curtsey, or 
bow of her head, proceeded on to her sedan, from 
which she as haughtily returned, and advancing 
towards me with queen-like steps, and viewing me 
most contemptuously, said : ' Mr. Wilkinson, I 
have made a visit this morning to Mr. Rich to 
command and to insist on his not giving you any 
engagement whatever ; no, not of the most menial 

* yide criticism on Slieridau's "Hamlet," Dramatic Censor, 
vol. ii. p. 372. 


kind ill the theatre. Merit you have none ; 
charity you deserve not, — for if you did my purse 
should give you a diiuier ; your impudence to me 
last night, where you had with such assurance 
placed yourself, is one proof of your ignorance ; 
added to that, I heard you echo my voice when I 
was acting, and I sincerely hope that m whatever 
barn you act as an unworthy stroller, that you will 
fully experience the sairio contempt you dared 
last nixrht to offer me.' " 

Could anything be more characteristic of Peg 
Woffington's fiery Irish temperament than this 
episode, so quaintly and so ingenuously recorded 
by Tate Wilkinson in his voluminous " Memoirs !" 

About this period her fi-ionds began to observe 
a change Jn the demeanour of the lively and fasci- 
nating actress. She was in her thirty-seventh 
year only, yet it was apj)arent that her health, 
spirits, and beauty were on the decHne. The seeds 
of an internal complaint had already been sown, 
but, with her customary recklessness, she disre- 
garded all warnings. The famous John Wesley 
was at that time preaching in London, and the 
fame of his sermons reached the actress. She 
attended his chapel, at first from curiosity, then 
from conviction. She was too clear-headed, and 
of too quick and sensitive a nature, not to have 
been impressed by the truth and earnestness of 


the great preacher. Stung with remorse, she 
reahsed the errors which she had coniinitted, the 
temptations to which 'she had given way, and the 
emptiness of worldly vanity and ambition as com- 
pared to the great question of eternity. Never- 
theless, although she determined upon reforming 
her private life, it does not appear that she had 
any intention of quitting her profession. As far 
as years went she was in the prime of womanhood ; 
" but," said she, " I will never destroy my own 
reputation by clinging to the shadow after tlic 
substance is gone. Wlien I can no longer bound 
on the boards with elastic step, and wlien the en- 
thusiasm of the public begins to show symptoms of 
decay, that night will be the last appearance of 
Marofaret Woffino;ton," 

She did not remain before the public long 
enouMi for tliem to become tired of lier, "That 
night" came, but not under the circumstances she 
had named. On the 3rd of May, 1757, she ap- 
peared as Rosalind in "As You Like It," and her 
name is announced in the same playbill for several 
benefits to follow. Tate Wilkinson — whom she 
had never forgiven for having mimicked her in 
Dublin — was standing at the wing as she went on 
with Mrs. Pritchard, who was acting Celia. She 
looked at him scornfully, and said ironically tliat 
she was glad to have an opportunity of congratu- 


lating him on his success as an actor, knowing he 
had recently met with a mortifying failure, and ex- 
pressed her conviction that such merit as his could 
not fail to procure him an ciigagemcnt the following 

" She went through Rosalind for four acts 
without my perceivmg she was in the least dis- 
ordered ; but in the fifth slie complained of great 
indisposition. I offered her my arm, the which 
she graciously accepted ; I thouglit she looked 
softened in her behaviour, and had less of the 
hauteur. When she came off at the quick change 
of dress, she again complained of being ill, but got 
accoutred, and returned to finish the part, and 
p]-onounced in the epilogue speech, — ' If it be true 
that good wine needs no busli, it is as true that a 
good play needs no epilogue,' &c. &c. But when 
arrived at ' If I were among you I would kiss as 
many of you as had beards that pleased me,' her 
voice broke, she faltered, endeavoured to go on, 
but could not proceed ; then, in a voice of tremor, 
screamed, ' God ! God !' tottered to the stage 
door speechless, where she was caught. The 
audience, of course, applauded until she was out of 
siffht, and tlien sunk into awful looks of astonish- 
ment — both young and old, before and behind the 
curtain — to see one of the most handsome women 
of the age, a favourite principal actress, and who 


had for several seasons given high entertainment, 
struck so suddenly by the hand of death in such a 
situation of time and place, and in her prime of 
life, being then aboiit forty-fo\ir. "'^ She was given 
over that night and for several days ; but so far 
i-ecovered as to linger till near the year 17 GO, l)ut 
existed as a mere skeleton, t 

Such were the circumstances attending the last 
appearance of Margaret Woffington, who for 
upwards of twenty-seven years had been the 
delight of the theatre-going public. It was a 
fitting termination for her brilliant and romantic 
pubHc career. But if the skeleton was all that 
remained of the beautifid and fascinating actress, 
it was fully replaced by the newly-awakened soul 
of the woman desirous of proving her penitence by 
an amended life. She did her best to try and 
awaken the consciences oT her former theatrical 
associates, but her earnestness was scouted at as 
hypocrisy, and it was insinuated that now that 
her beauty and spirits were gone that she took up 
religion as a new means of excitement. From that 
time forward she never associated with any of her 
late companions. How fortunate it is for frail 
humanity that God and not man is the judge of 
its motives ! 

* A mistake. She was just thirty-seven, 
t Vide "Tate Wilkinson's Memoirs," vol. i. pp. 103, 104. 


She retired to Teddington, and for nearly three 
years lived there, zealous in the performance of 
deeds of kindness and charity towards her poorer 
neighhonrs. "There is no position," she used to 
say during these latter days, when speaking of 
the stage, " so full of temptation. At tlie hottom 
of my heart I always loved and honoured vu'tue, 
but the stage made me for years a worthless 
woman." In her reformed and retired life there 
was no outward show of puritanic austerity. Slie 
was grave, yet cheerful, and tradition yet tells 
how she might have been constantly seen 
trudging along the roads and lanes at Ted- 
dington with a basket on her arm, bent upon 
some errand of mercy. Her annuity, left to lier 
by lier old friend Owen McSwiney, died with 
her ; but she had saved five thousand pounds, 
wliich she left to her sister, together with her 
stage jewels. The latter, her friend Mrs. Barring- 
ton (an actress) had expected to become possessed 
of, but as there was no clause to that eilbct in liie 
will, Mrs. Cholmondely insisted upon having 
them. The actress, in order to get them, in- 
sinuated they were worthless, and only fit for 
stage effects. But her op])onent knew better, for 
it was the custom of Mrs. Woffington's aristocratic 
and wealthy worshippers to tender their homage 
in the very substantial form of diamonds. The 


story that she erected the almshouses at Tedding- 
ton is quite without foundation. They were built 
a hundred years previously, and the one added 
during her lifetime was built by subscription. 
She may possibly have been one of the subscribers. 

Margaret Woflington died at Tcddington, and 
was bulled in a vault beneath the parish church. 
A tablet on a neighbouring wall bears the following 
inscription : — 

" Near this monument lies the body of Margaret 
Woffington, spinster, born October the 18th, 1720, 
who departed this life March the 28th, 17G0, aged 
39 years." 

Alike blamewoithy and praiseworthy, think of 
the circumstances of her strange and chequered 
career, and, in estimating her character, let a leaven 
of the greatest of the Christian virtues influence 
your conclusions. 

Gently scan your brother man, 

Still gentler, sister woman ; 
Thougli they may gang a kennin wrang. 

To step aside is human. 


Born 1731. Dikd 1788. 

LUE-EYED Bellamy" plays no uiiimpor- 
tant part in the stage-history of the last 
century. No great actress, in the strict 
sense of the word, she is chiefly remembered for 
tlio romantic eircumstanccs of hor hii'th, and ho- 
cause of the illustrious names ■which were asso- 
ciated with hers. She is a true type of the gay 
and frivolous stage beauty — egotistical, heartless, 
selfish, and intensely vain, in the widest and worst 
sense of that latter term. 

Towards the close of 1784 appeared a work, in- 
five small volumes, entitled " An Apology for the 
Life of George Anne Bellamy, written by herself." 
The style adopted was that of a series of letters to 
a female friend. It was actually written by Alex- 
ander BickneU, from materials supplied by Mrs. Bel- 
lamy ; and as sliehad kept neither notes nor diary, 
and was obliged to trust entirely to her memory. 


this accounts for many errors in dates and other 
details. There is an apparent candour in tliis 
" Apology," and a spurious ingenuousness which at 
first attracts, but which soon ^^'ears oflT when the 
motives of the apologist are tested. At the same 
time, her garrulousness is so amusing, and occa- 
sionally so graphic, that it will be best to let her 
tell the chief events of her histoiy in her own 

Genius creates, talent polishes and makes use 
of these creations ; and in the days when George 
Anne Bellamy — a bright though a baleful star — 
appeared before the footlights, it was indispensable 
for an actress to possess either or both these quali- 
fications. In this age it is merely necessary for a 
wealthy patron to take a theatre for a beautiful 
jorotegee, who can there pose her lovely person to 
the best advantage. Society makes siicli an exlii- 
bition the fashion, and the world and his wife 
blindly follow suit. But when Garrick, Rich, and 
Sheridan were managers — two of them actors — the 
case was somewhat different. The spiu's had to be 
won before they could be worn, so that the sudden 
popularity of George Anne Bellamy must be looked 
upon as exceptional. 

Our heroine was the natural daughter of an 
Irish nobleman, James O'Hara, Lord Tyrawley, 
mentioned in no very complimentary terms by 


Pope.* He fonglit in Flanders under the great 
Duke of Marlborough, rose to be a general officer, 
and colonel of the Coldstream Guards, and was 
more than once employed on important missions as 
a foreign ambassador. He was a man of no mean 
wit and ability, but of most immoral character. 
A spendthrift and a gambler, Lord TjTawley soon 
ran through his estate, and, having no legitimate 
heir male, the title expired with him. He died at 
the age of eighty-three.f Lord Chesterfield said 
of himself and of this ancient roue, when both had 
become very old and infirm : " Tyrawley and I 
have been dead these two years, but w^e don't 
choose to have it known." Boswell retails that 
Dr. Johnson — who greatly disliked Lord Chester- 
field, and justly — allows the merit of "good wit" 
to this sayuig. Notwithstanding the high autho- 
rity by which it is endorsed, we are dull enough 
not to be able to see the imputed brilliancy of this 

When Miss Seal — the mother of George Anne 
Bellamy — was yet but a schoolgirl, Lord Tyrawley 
persuaded her to elope with him imder promise of 
marriage — a promise which he never kept. For 
some months she lived with him in his apartments 

* " Go diuc with Cliartres, iu each vice outdo, 

K I's lewd cargo, or Ty y*s crew." 

t A.D. 1773. 

VOL. I. N 


at Somerset House, where she was treated Avith 
the same respect as If she had been really Lady 
Tyrawley. At the end of this time his lordship 
was ordered to join his regiment in Ireland, where, 
upon his arrival, he found liis estates so involved by 
the bad management of his steward that nothing 
could retrieve his affairs but an advantageous 
marriage. With this object in view he paid his 
addresses to Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of the 
Earl of Blessington, whose fortune was reputed to 
be 30,000/. During the courtship, the Earl of 
Blessinijton, havino; heard a rumour of the con- 
nexion between his intended son-in-law and Miss 
Seal, wrote to tlie latter to desire information 
concerning the nature of their intimacy, at the 
same time explaining the motives for his request. 
In the violence of her resentment, Miss Seal in- 
closed to Lord Blessington every letter slie liad 
ever had from her faithless lover. Amongst them 
was one she had j ust received, and which she sent 
unopened. In this last epistle Lord Tyrawley, 
after explaining the necessity for Ins marriage, 
added that " he should stay no longer with his 
intended wife than Avas necessary to receive her 
fortune, when he would immediately fly on the 
wings of love to share it with her ; that he had 
made choice of Lady Mary Stewart, who was both 
ugly and foolish, in preference to one with an equal 


fortune who was beautiful and sensible, lest an 
union with a more agreeable person might be the 
means of decreasing his aiFection for her ;" and 
much more to the same effect. Lord Blessington, 
highly irritated on the perusal of this letter, in- 
stantly forbade his daughter ever to see or to 
write agam to her perfidious lover. But his in- 
junction came too late : they had been already 
privately married. Lord Tyrawley, however, was 
disappointed of liis expected fortune ; his mistress 
renounced her connexion with him ; a separation 
from his wife ensued ; and his lordship, the disap- 
pointed victim of his own duphcity, was sent, 
on his own solicitation, in a public character to 

Cast off 1)y her lover and by her family, without 
money and without friends. Miss Seal now em- 
braced the theatrical profession, and for several 
years performed with much success in Dublin. A 
dispute arising between her and the proprietor of 
the theatre, she formed the resolution of going to 
Portugal in search of Lord Tyrawley. He received 
her with open arms, and they lived together for 
some months ; when, hearing of his attachment to 
a S})anish beauty. Miss Seal abruptly left Lord 
Tyrawley, and married Cap tarn Bellamy. They 
immediately set sail for Ireland, where, soon after 
their arrival, George Anne was born, at Fingal, on 

N 2 


the 23rd of April, 1731. It was intended that 
she should have been christened Georgiana, but 
by some mistake she appears m the baptismal 
registry as George Anne. 

Captain Bellamy must have felt no small amount 
of astonishment at having paternal honours thrust 
upon him much too soon for him to lay any claim 
to them. He immediately quitted his faithless 
wife, and never returned to her. Again she be- 
took, herself to the stage for a livelihood, and some 
years later went through a form of marriage Avith a 
younger son of Sir George Walter, a dissipated 
young officer, juvenile enough to be her own child. 
However, she paid the penalty for her foolishness, 
for lie deserted her, taking with him every article 
of value she possessed, even to her dresses. 

At the time of the birth of our heroine, Lord 
Tyrawley — who felt satisfied that she was his 
daughter — was absent on diplomatic service in 
Lisbon. A friend of his — a Captain Pye — was 
stationed at Fingal at the time of her birth, and 
to him Lord Tyrawley wrote, requesting tliat Mrs. 
Pye, who had no children of her own, would take 
the infant under her care, and prevent the mother 
from holding any intercourse with her. With 
Mrs. Pye she lived until she was about five years 
of age, when her father directed she should be sent 
to a French convent, and brought up in the Roman 


Catholic faith. When George Anne was about 
eleven years old, her father returned home, bring- 
ing with hiin a Portuguese dulcinea and a large 
family by different mothers. He took a country 
house for them at Bushey, and George Anne was 
added to the establishment. 

She soon became a great favourite with her 
father and his companions, who were in general 
more witty and gay than conscicntioas, and over- 
whelmed her with flattery with the view of paying 
court to her sire. Thus, she says, she was soon 
made to believe she was a phenomenon, blessed 
with talents and attractions which Nature seldom 
or never combines. 

*' Lord Tyrawloy having prohibited my reading 
' Cassandra,' the only romance in his library, and 
one which a girl of my age and lively disposition 
would naturally have first laid her hands upon, 
preferring poetry to history, I endeavoured to learn 
Pope's ' Homer' by rote. In this I made such 
proficiency, that in a short tune I could repeat the 
first three books. When I thought myself sulli- 
ciently perfect, I languished to be introduced to 
the incomparable author of them, not doubting but 
he would be as much charmed with my manner of 
repeating ' The wrath of Peleus' son' as I myself 

" It was not till after I had frequently solicited 


Lord T3rrawley upon this head that he would 
listen to my request. At length, however, he 
consented, and we set off together for Twickenham. 
As I rode along, the suggestions of vanity over- 
powered every apprehension, and I was not a little 
elated when I reflected on the conspicuous figure 
I was about to make. The carriage stopped at 
the door ; we were mtroduced to this little gi^eat 
man. But before I had time to collect myself, or 
to examine him, Mr. Pope rang the bell for his 
housekeeper, and directed her to take Miss and 
kIiow her tl 10 garden, and give lior as nuicli iVuil, 
as she chose to eat. 

" How shall I find words to express the mortifi- 
cation I felt upon this occasion ! It is not in the 
power of language to describe the true situation of 
my mind, on finding my vanity thus humbled. It 
is to be supposed I was not very complaisant to tlio 
old lady. But she did not long attend me ; for 
we had scarcely got into the gardens before she pre- 
tended business, and left me to admire them, and 
eat fruit by myself 

" I was not in tlie least displeased at the house- 
keeper's abrupt departure, as it gave me leisure to 
meditate, and contrive some method of resenting 
so gross an affront offered to the infant Dacier. 
For no less a personage in the world of literatui-e 
did I fancy that I should be when my amazing 


powers had acquired 23eifection. At last I con- 
cluded to cany into execution my plan of revenge. 
I determined never to read the cynic's translation 
of the ' Iliad' ngain, but wholly to attach myself to 
Drydcn's 'Virgil.' My heart exulted in the tliouglit, 
and I experienced those sweet sensations which 
arise from the hopes of being amply revenged for 
insult. But whilst I was indulging myself in 
this pleasant reverie, I was infoi med that the car- 
riage waited. 

" I hastened to it ; and when I joined Lord 
Tyrawley, found that he had prevailed upon the 
Earl of Chesterfield, who had happened to come in 
just after my supposed disgrace, to accompany us 
to Bushcy. Tliat ])oblcmansoon made me amends 
for the treatment I had just received, and removed 
the chagrin it liad occasioned. Tlie elegant praises 
of a Chesterfield transported my little lieart, and 
atoned for the casual contempt of a Pope. They 
filled my bosom with inconceivahle pleasure, and 
im])rcss(Hl upon my mcjnory such a partiality for 
the bestower of them as was never after eradicated. 
Indeed, the favourable opinion he honoured nie 
with in my profession was not a little flattering, 
and claimed my warmest gratitude." 

Not long afterwards Lord Tyrawley went on a 
di])lomatic mission to Kussia ; and as George 
Anne and Donna Anna, the Portuguese dulcinea, 


did not agree, he thought it best to separate them 
before leaving England. Accordingly, he placed 
his daughter under the care of a lady of quality, 
allowing 100/. a year for her maintenance. He 
also left strict orders that upon any account what- 
ever she was not to be allowed to hold any inter- 
course with her mother. It was just about this 
time that the unfortunate woman had contracted 
her ill-assorted union with young Walter. When 
he left her penniless, she, not knowing the con- 
ditions enforced by Lord Tyrawley, succeeded in 
havinnf an interview with her daughter. Here 
she descanted upon her penury, and represented 
to George Anne what an advantage the 100/, 
a year would be to her. Tlie result was that 
George Anne ran away from her kind protectress, 
and took up her abode with her mother, who 
promised her such liberty of action as she had never 
yet enjoyed. She took with her her watch and 
other trinkets, upon which her mother boiTowed 
some money to enable them to live until the next 
quarterly payment became due. But when the 
wislied-for hour arrived, what was their mortifica- 
tion to find the money would be no longer paid ! 
George Anne Bellamy had gone off with her 
mother solely to gratify her own self-will, and that 
desire for notoriety at any price which was ever 
her besetting sm. Yet, at this juncture, it is 


amusing to find how she makes this false step an 
excuse for the indiscretions of her after hfe. " My 
imprudent removal," she says, speaking as though 
she had not acted of Iier own free-will, '' from the 
protection of the noble patroness to whose care I 
had been committed by Lord Tyrawley, though 
the motive was in some measure allowable, as it 
proceeded from filial afiection" (?) " laid the foun- 
dation of all those errors and subsequent mis- 
fortunes which have been my lot." She wrote to 
Lord Tyrawley, and received a reply in which he 
said he would allow her no future sujDport, and 
renounced her for ever. The mother and daughter 
were now literally without the means of living, 
and gladly accepted an invitation IVom a Mrs. 
Jackson to pass some time with her at Twick- 
enham. In this nciii'libourhood also resided 
Mrs. Wofiington ; and Mrs. Bellamy, who had 
known the famous actress in Dublin, again made 
her acquaintance, and introduced her daughter to 
her. The kind-hearted Peg Wolfington hstcncd 
to their tale of distress, and mvited them to come 
and stay with her at Teddington as soon as their 
visit to Mrs. Jackson was ended. 

At Mrs. Woffington's, George Anne Bellamy 
made the acquaintance of Garrick, Sheridan, 
Bich — the manager of Covent Garden — and other 
dramatic celebrities. Miss Polly Woffington, 


who afterwards mangled the Hon. Mr. Cholmon- 
deley, was at this time in training for the stage 
under her sister's auspices ; and, in order to make 
a trial of her abilities, a private performance was 
decided upon. The tragedy of the " Distressed 
Mother" was the piece selected for tlie essay. 
Mrs. Bellamy and Mrs. Wollington played the at- 
tendants ; Garrick, Orestes ; Mr. Sullivan, a Fellow 
of Trinity College, Dublin, Pyrrhus ; Miss Polly 
Woffington, llermione ; whilst Andromache fell 
to the lot of the afterwards famous George Anne. 

She was not quite fourteen at the time, and had 
no advantages of dress or personal adornment of 
any kind. The piece was acted in a barn, to 
which came all the rank and fashion of the neigh- 
bourhood. Garrick compHmented her upon her 
rendering of the part, commenting especially upon 
her earnestness. 

At that tune the salaries of the subordinate 
players were never regulaily paid. The consequence 
of tliis was that Mrs. Bellamy had a standing account 
with Bich, of Covent Garden, who was somewhat 
in arrears to her. She constantly went to his 
house to endeavour to procure payment ; and 
during these visits was usually accompanied by 
her daughter. An intimacy sprang up between 
George Anne and the daughters of Bich ; 
and the young people, hearing theatrical mat- 


ters so much talked about, conceived the idea of 
having a performance of " Othello" amongst them- 
selves. " When we were perfect in the words, we 
began to rehearse. During the rehearsal, as we 
were only playing for our own amusement, and I 
concluded we were not overheard, I gave free scope 
to my fancy and to my voice ; and I really believe 
our perfoilnance was more perfect, as it was 
truly natural, than if it had been aided by the 
studied graces of professors. As I was raving in 
all the extremity of jealous madness, Mr. llich 
accidentally passed by the room in which we were 
rehearsing. Attracted, as he afterwards said, by 
the powerful sweetness of the Moor's voice, which 
lie declared to be wiii)oiior to any one lie had ever 
heard, he listened without interrupting our per- 
formance ; but as soon as it was concluded, he 
entered the room, and paid me a thousand compli- 
ments otti my theatrical abilities. Among other 
things, he said, that in his opinion I should make 
one of the (irsL actresses in the world; adding, that 
if I could turn my thoughts to the stage, he should 
be happy to engage me. 

" Not a little vain of receiving these encomiums 
from a person who from his situation must be a 
competent judge, I went home and informed my 
mother of what had happened. 

" At first she was averse to my accepting the 


proposal, having experienced herself all the dis- 
advantages attendant on a theatrical life ; but Mrs. 
Jackson uniting her persuasions to those of Mr. 
Rich, she at length consented. She, however, 
complied only on condition that the manager 
would assure lier of his supporting me in a capital 
line. This Mr. Rich agreed to do. 

" At the time I entered into an eno-airement with 
Mr. Rich I was just fourteen,* of a figure not in- 
elegant, a powerful voice, liglit as the gossamer, of 
inexliaustlble spirits, and possessed of some liumour. 
From llioHO ([iinlificiitionH lio (bniied tlio most 
sanguine hopes of my success, and determined that 
I should immediately make trial of them. I had 
perfected myself in the two characters of Monimia 
and Atlienais, and, according to my own judg- 
ment, had made no inconsiderable proficiency in 
them. The former was fixed on for my first 

" Mr. Rich now thought it time to introduce me 
to Mr. Quin, then the most capital performer at 
Covent Garden ; and capital he was, indeed, in 
those characters which liis fifi^ure suited. This 
gentleman, at that period, governed the theatre 

* A mistake. G. A. Bellamy was born in 1731, and in 17-15 she 
acted in tlie Larn at Teddington with Wofiingtou and Garrick. Slio 
bad not then thought of adopting the stage as a profession; and it 
was in the year after, 17i6, that she became acquainted with Rich. 


witli a rod of iron, Mr. llicli, though the pro- 
prietor, was, through his indolence, a mere cipher. 
He was, however, when he had resolved on any- 
tlihig, the most determined of men. After wait- 
ing some time at the door of the lion's den, as the 
people of the theatre had denominated Mr. Quins 
dressing-room, we were at length admitted. It is 
necessary here to observe that this gentleman 
never condescended to enter the green-room, or to 
mix with the other performers, all of whom he was 
unacquainted with, except Mr. Ilyan, for whom he 
entertained a particular friendship, which lasted 
till Mr. Kyan's death. 

" He no sooner heard Mr. PJch propose my 
appearing in the character of Jlfojiiinia, tlian with 
tlic most sovereign contempt lie cried out, 'It will 
not do, sir.' Upon which the manager, to his 
infinite surprise, replied, ' It shall do, sir.' I was 
so frightened at Mr. Quin's austere deportment, 
that had he requested me to give him a specimen 
of my abilities, it would not have been in my power. 
But lie held me too cheap to put me to the trial. 
After some further altercation had passed, which 
was not much in my favour, Mr. Quin at last 
deigned to look at me, saying at the same time, 
* Child, I would advise you to play Serina, before 
you think of Monimia. ' This sarcasm roused my 
spirits, which before were much sunk, and I pertly 


replied, * If I did, sir, I should never live to play 
the Orphan.' " 

Quin remonstrated : the manager was inexorable : 
the result being that a rehearsal was called for tlie 
next day. Quin vowed that he would publicly 
declare his sentiments upon tlio absurdity and h\\- 
propriety of allowing a cliild to appear in so 
important a part. Furthermore, he refused to 
attend rehearsals ; he kept his word, too, but Kich 
fined him heavily, which soon broiight him to his 
allegiance. Hale and Ryan followed the example 
of Quin, and met with tlie same summary treat- 
ment from the determined manager. They put in 
an appearance at the third rehearsal, when Hale 
mumbled over the part of Castalio, and Ryan 
whistled Polydore ; and even Serina, who was only 
an attendant upon tragedy queens, smiled con- 
temptuously upon tlie aspiring novice. The real 
state of the case was, that Rich looked upon 
George Anne as a means of indulging his pet foible 
of "larning novices to act." He was a perfectly 
uneducated man, but was possessed with the firm 
conviction that he was admirably suited to be a 
theatrical instructor. *' Lay your impharsis on 
the adjutant P' he once said, with managerial 
importance, to a trembling neophyte. A paren- 
thesis he pronounced a prentice, and the words 


turhot and tiu^ban lie invariably confounded.* 
Certainly, all through this mortifying opposition, 
Kich supported his protegee by every means in 
his power. Concluding that, as a true daughter 
of Eve, she was not exempt from love of dress, 
he allowed her to choose her costume for the 

The contention in the theatre waged so fiercely, 
that even the public got wind of the matter. 
The dreaded evening at length arrived. Previous 
to it, Mr. Quin had declared his opinion that the 
piece would be a failure ; Kich, on the contrary, 
was equally confident of success. The public 
curiosity had been so much excited from the 
reports of the quarrels, on this eventful night 
the theatre was crowded in every pn.rt. The 
curtain drew up to one of the most brilhant 
audiences that had ever graced Covent Garden — 
an audience too with the remembrance fresh in 
their minds of having seen Monimia played to 
perfection by the lovely and languishing Susanna 

The manager having pledged himself for the 
success of George Anne, had planted numbers of 

* There was a stage-manager at Covent Garden, rather less than 
a century ago, who reproved a well-educated actor for saying im- 
minent danger, and ordered him to change the adjective to eminent. 


his friends around the house in order to insure 
it. His consternation and dismay may well be 
imagined when he saw the neophyte advance to 
the footlights, and there stand like a statue. The 
friends of Eich loudly applauded, but their 
plaudits seemed only to frighten her all the more. 
She was struck with unmistakable stage-fright, 
and the pit, compassionating her youth and ner- 
vousness, ordered down the curtain again to give 
her time to recover herself. Rich was in an 
agony ; the malicious actors smiled in exultation ; 
the curtain was drawn up, but oven then her 
terror so overcame her that she could scarcely be 
heard in the side-boxes. During the first three 
acts she seemed every minute upon the point of 
breaking down. The manager was in an agony, 
and did all in his power to encourage her. Her 
fate as an actress hung upon the fourth act ; by 
that criterion she was to be judged, and by the 
judgment passed she would rise or fall. Suddenly, 
to the astonishment of the audience, the surprise 
of the performers, and the exultation of the 
manager, she felt herself inspired. Her own 
personality was forgotten, her whole soul was in 
the piece, and she acquitted herself throughout 
the whole of this most arduous part of the 
character, in which even veterans have failed, with 
the greatest eclat. The house was carried by 


storm, and the curtain fell amidst enthusiastic 
shouts of ap23lause. 

Quin, utterly amazed at the turn affairs had 
taken, waited bcliind the scenes untU the con- 
clusion of the act. He was too generous-minded 
not to give praise where praise was due ; and 
lifting the young actress off the ground, in a 
transport of delight, he exclaimed before the 
assembled company, " Thou art a divine creature, 
and the true sphit is in thee." The performers 
who, half an hour before, had looked upon her 
with pity, now crowded around to load her with 
congratulations ; and as for Pticli, he expressed 
as much triumph upon this occasion as ever he 
did upon the success of one of his own darling 

From this moment Quin honoured her with a 
steady friendship, which never once wavered as 
long as he lived. Lord Tyrawley had been an old 
friend of his ; and finding that George Anne was 
that nobleman's daughter, and that her mother 
was in distress, he inclosed a bank-note in a 
blank cover, and sent it by the penny post. 
He also gave the young lady a general invitation 
to his suppers, which were held four times a 
week. All the literati of the age frequented 
these parties, where wit, repartee, bon-mots, 
conviviality, and good cheer went hand in hand. 

VOL. I. O 


Mrs. Jackson always accompanied her to these 
suppers, for Quin particularly enjoined her never 
to come alone, because, as he jocosely said, he 
was not yet old enough to secure her from scandal. 
It would have been well for George Anne Bellamy 
if she had always followed the advice of this rougli 
but honest monitor. Quin had the manners of a 
bear, with the heart of a lamb. 

Miss Bellamy was now regularly installed as a 
member of the Oovent Garden Tlieatre company. 
Quin was stage-manager, and had it in liis power 
to show her many kindnesses. She next appeared 
in the character of Asspnsia, in Beaumont and 
Fletcher's play of " The INTaid's Tragedy," a piece 
revived by Quin. The latter took a benefit early 
in 1745, in which Miss Bellamy acted Arsinoe in 
Fen ton's "Mariarane." After the rehearsal of the 
latter play, Quin one day requested to speak with 
the young actress in his dressing-room. As he 
had always studiously avoided seeing her alone, 
she was not a little surprised at so unexpected 
an invitation. She even feared tliat she had in 
some way offended him. However, her fears were 
of short duration, for as soon as she entered the 
room he took her affectionately by the hand, and 
said, " My dear girl, you are vastly followed, I 
hear. Do not let the love of finery, or any other 
inducement, prevail upon you to commit an indis- 


cretion. Men in general are rascals ; you are 
young and engaging, and therefore ought to be 
doubly cautious. If you want anything in my 
power which money can purchase, come to me, and 
say, ' James Quin, give me such a thing,' and my 
purse shall be always at your service." 

George Anne acted Aspasia for five successive 
nights. This was followed by Lucia^ in " Cato ;" 
Cclia, in " Volpone;" and Blanche, in Colley Gibber's 
alteration (or rather mutilation) of Shakspeare's 
" King John," which the poet-laureate had re- 
christened " Papal Tyranny." On, this occasion 
Gibber, wlio liad retired for more than ten years, 
came out again at drivelling seventy-five to exhibit 
Ills dotage as Cardinal Pandulph. He had lost 
all liis teeth, and was quite inn.rticulate. The 
audience extended full indulgence to his age and 
former reputation, but visited his son, Theopliilus, 
with marked tokens of their displeasure. The 
father had taught him — and as many more of the 
actors as submitted to be schooled. Miss Belhimy 
amongst the rest — the traditional mode of chanting 
and quavering out their tragic notes. The public 
spared the old man, but signified no tolerance for 
his younger discii)les. Nevertheless, this disgrace- 
ful hodge-podge ran for ten nights ; and so great 
were the attractions of the young actress that it 
reahsed a profit of 400/. 

o 2 


About this time the Duchess of Queensberry (the 
poet Gay's celebrated Duchess) favoured George 
Anne with her patronage. Her first interview 
with the Duchess is most characteristic. 

" Some days before that fixed for my benefit, I 
received a messa^je whilst I was at the theatre, to 
be at Queensberry House the next day by twelve 
o'clock. As I thought it likewise incumbent on 
me to wait on the Countess of Cardigan, who had 
lionoured me witli equal marks of Jipprobation, T 
dressed myself early, and, taking a cliair, wont first 
to Privy-Garden. I had tlioio eveiy I'cason to be 
pleased with the reception her ladyship gave me, 
who joined politeness to every virtue. 

" But at Queensberry House my reception was 
far otherwise. Her Grace was determined to mor- 
tify my vanity before she promoted my interest. 
Quite elated with Lady Cardigan's flattering 
behaviour, I ordered the chairmen to proceed to 
Queensberry House. Soon after the rat-tat had 
been given, and my name announced to the porter, 
the groom of the chambers appeared. I desired 
him to acquaint her Grace that I was come to 
wait upon her. But how was I surprised when 
he returned, and informed me that her Grace 
knew no such person ! My astonisliment at this 
message was greatly augmented by the certainty 
I had entertained of a ready admittance. I assured 


the domestic that it was by the Duchess's own 
directions I had taken the liberty to wait on her. 
To which he rephed, that there must have been 
some mistake in the deUvery of it. In this mor- 
tifying situation I had nothing to do but to return 

Pondering upon this strange behaviour of her 
noble patroness, George Anne went to the theatre 
that evening, and upon entering the green-room 
was accosted by Prince Lobkowitz, who requested 
a box for her benefit for the corps diplomatique. 
She thanked him, informed him he should have a 
stage-box, and sent for the boxkeeper to tell him 
to look to the matter. How great was her sur- 
prise when lie told her that she had not a box to 
dispose of; every one, save those of tlie Coimtess 
of Cardigan, the Duchess of Leeds, and Lady 
Shaftesbury, being retained for the Duchess of 
Queensberry ! He further added, that the Duchess 
had sent for two hundred and fifty tickets. It is 
no wonder that Miss Bellamy was unable to account 
for the very cavalier treatment which she had 
received in the morning. But a further surprise 
awaited her. Upon her return from the theatre 
that evening, she found a note from her Grace 
desiring her to wait upon her during the forenoon 
of the next day. 

"I was," she says, "notwithstanding so appro- 


hensive of meeting witli a second mortification, 
that I determined to tvaUc to Queensberry House, 
to prevent any person being a witness to it, 
should it happen. I accordingly set out on foot, 
and was not totally free from perturbation when I 
knocked at the gate. I was, however, iunnc- 
diately ushered to her Grace's apartment, where 
my reception was as singular as my treatment had 
been the day before ; her Grace thus accosting 
me : ' Well, young woman ! What business had 
you in a chair yesterday ? It was a fine morning, 
and you might have .walked. You look as you 
ought to do now' (observing my linen gown). * No- 
thing is so vulgar as wearing silk in a morning. 
Simplicity best becomes youth. And you do not 
stand in need of ornaments. Therefore, always 
dress plain, except when you are on the stage.' 

"Whilst her Grace was talking in tliis niainicr 
to me, she was cleaning a picture ; which I olH- 
ciously requested her permission to do, she hastily 
replied : ' Don't you think I have domestics enough 
if I did not choose to do it myself ?' I apologised 
for my presumption, by informing her Grace that 
I had been for some time at Jones's, where I had 
been flattered that I had acquired a tolerable pro- 
ficiency in that art. The Duchess upon this ex- 
claimed — ' you the girl I have heard Chester- 
field speak of V Upon my answering that I had 


the honour of being known to his Lordship, she 
ordered a canvas bag to be taken out of her 
cabinet, saying, ' No person can give Queensberry 
less than gold. There are two hundred and fifty 
guuieas, and twenty for tlie Duke's tickets and 
mine ; but I must give you sometliing for 
Tyi'awley's sake,' She then took a bill from her 
pocket-book, which having put into my hands, she 
told me her coach was ordered to carry me home, 
lest any accident should happen to me, now I had 
such a charge about me." 

The proceeds of her benefit far exceeded her 
most sanguine expectations. All expenses bemg 
deducted, tlie profits amounted to several hun- 
dred pounds. Splendid encouragement for a 
beginner ! 

As may readily be conjectured, the young, lovely, 
and gifted actress had many suitors. Chief amongst 
them, just about the time of her benefit, were Lord 
Byron (grand-uncle of the poet), and Sir George 
Metliam.* She met tliem constantly at Quin's 
suppers, wdiere it was patent to all what were the 
intentions of Lord Byron — nothing less than the 
desire to accomplish her fall from the paths of 

* Sir George Metliani was at this period ouly Mr. Montgomery : 
to avoid confusion we call him by the former name at oucc, as it is 
under that name aloue th^t all Mrs. Bellamy's biographers speak 
of him. 


prudence and virtue. Sir George Metham also 
ardently — but ambiguously — pressed his suit ; and 
at last the young lady told him plainly that she 
would listen to no proposals but those of marriage 
and a coach. He honestly told her that the first 
condition was impossible, as he was entirely 
dependent upon his father, whose consent he 
could not hope to procure ; and as for the 
second, he could not afford it. Under these 
circumstances, the young lady refused to have 
anything to say to him ; and he, ostensibly 
broken-hearted, retired to his father's place in 

Lord Byron was not so easily disposed of. lie 
had the character of never having been refused by 
a woman, and his vanity was hurt at George Anne 
Bellamy's coldness, and determined to be revenged 
upon her. This episode is best given in her own 
words : — 

" His Lordship was very intimate with a person 
who was a disgrace to nobility, and whose name 
I shall conceal through tenderness to his fjimily. 
This nobleman was Lord Byron's confidential 
friend, and to this friend Lord Byron committed 
the execution of his revenge. 

"His Lordship frequently called at Mrs. Jack- 
son's, though much against my mother's inclina- 
tions. But as he had been constantly a dangler 


behind the scenes during her engagement at the 
theatre, and had occasionally given her franks, she 
admitted his visits. 

" My mother had strictly enjoined me to break 
off my intimacy with the young lady who was the 
object of the Earl's pursuit, on account of her 
levity ; and because, though by birth a gentle- 
woman, she had degraded herself by becoming the 
companion of a lady of quality who liad frequently 
eloped from her lord. 

" My mother at this period was become a con- 
firmed devotee. Keligion engrossed so much of her 
time, that in the evening she was seldom visible. 
Upon this account, and from Mrs. Jackson's accom- 
panying mc so fi-c(pently to Mrs. Quin's suppers, 
that lady conferred a great part of the friendly 
regard she had once borne my mother to me. But 
alas ! I was not long to profit by this revolution. 
My happiness was to be as transient as the sun- 
shine of an April day. 

" One Sunday evening, when this ignoble Earl 
well knew my mother would be engaged, he called 
to infoi'm mc that the young lady before men- 
tioned was in a coach at the end of Southampton 
Street, and desired to speak with me. Witho\it 
staying to put on my hat or gloves I ran to the 
coach ; where, to my unspeakable surprise, I found 
myself suddenly hoisted into it by his Lordship, 


and that the coachman drove off as fast as the 
horses could gallop. 

" My astonishment for some time deprived me 
of the power of utterance ; but when I was a little 
recovered, I gave free vent to my reproaches. 
These his Lordship bore with a truly philosophic 
indiiference, calmly teUing me that no harm was 
intended me ; and that I had better consent to 
make his friend Lord Byron happy, and be happy 
myself, than oppose my good fortune. To this he 
added, tlnit his friend was shortly to bo married to 
Miss Shaw, a young lady possessed of a very large 
fortune, which would enable him to provide hand- 
somely for me. I was so struck with the insolence 
of this proposal, that I remained for some time 
quite silent. 

" At length the coach stopped in a lonely place 
at the top of North Audley Street, fronting the 
fields. At that time Oxford Street did not extend 
so far as it does at present. Here the Earl got 
out, and took me into his house. He then went 
away, as he said, to prepare a lodging for me, 
wliicli he had already seen at a mantua-maker's in 
Broad Street, Carnaby Market, and to which he 
would come back and take me. He assured me 
the mistress of the house was a woman of character ; 
and added, with the most dreadful imprecations, 
that no violence was intended. 


" His Lordship now left me. And as the fear 
of great evils banishes every lesser consideration, I 
determined to wait the result with all the patience 
I was possessed of The dread of being left alone 
in that sohtary place was nothing when compared 
with my apprehensions from the machinations of 
two noblemen so determined and so powerful. 
Terror, however, so totally overwhelmed my mind 
that I remained in a state of stupefaction. 

" It was not long before his Lordshij) returned ; 
and with him came the last person I least expected 
to see — my own brother."^ Good heavens ! what 
comfort at so critical a juncture did the sight of 
hun afford me ! I instantly flew into his arms ; 
but was repulsed by him in so violent a manner 
that I fell to the ground. The shock of this 
unexpected repulse, just as I hoped to have found 
a protector in him, was more than my spirits were 
able to bear. It deprived me of my senses. On 
my return to sensibility the only object that 
presented itself to my view wo.s an old female 
servant, who told me she had orders to convey me 
to the lodging which had been prepared for me. 

"The first tiling I did was to make inquiry con- 
cerning my brother's coming so unexpectedly. I 
was informed by the old woman that he had be- 

* This was Lieutenant O'llara — a natural son of Lord Tjrawley. 


stowed manual chastisement upon my ravislier. 
But as he seemed to suppose that I had consented 
to the elopement, he had declared he would never 
see me more, but leave me to my fate. 

" The woman added that he had threatened the 
Earl and his associate with a prosecution, which had 
so intimidated her master, that he had given her 
orders to remove me out of his house as soon as 
possible, as my being found there might make 
against him. 

" When we arrived in Broad Street, I discovered, 
to my great satisfaction, that the mistress of the 
house, whose name was Mirvan, worked for me as 
a mantua-maker, though I was till now unac- 
quainted with her place of residence. I told her 
my story simply as it happened ; and my appear- 
ance, as well as my eyes, which were much swelled 
with crying, was an undeniable testimony of the 
truth of my assertions. 

" I afterwards learned the following circum- 
stances relative to my brother, about whom I was 
more anxious than for myself, as I had a great 
affection for him. We had long expected him to 
return from sea, he having been abroad for some 
years ; and by one of those extraordinary freaks of 
fortune wliich are not to be accounted for, he got 
to the top of Southampton Street just as the coacli 
was driving off with me. I should have termed 


Ills coming providential, had lie not suffered liis 
suspicions to get tlie better of his affection, 
and thus counteracted the apparent designs of 
Providence in affording nic relief 

" He had reached Southampton Street, as I have 
just said, nearly about the time I was forced mto 
the coach, and ran to rescue the person thus 
treated, little imagining it was his own sister ; but 
the furious driving of the coachman rendered his 
designs abortive. Upon this, he proceeded to Mrs. 
Jackson's house, and had scarcely inquired for me, 
than that lady cried out, * Oh fly, sir, to her relief ; 

Lord has this moment run away with her.' 

My brother hearing this, concluded I must have 
been the person he had just seen carried off. But 
knowing it would be impossible to overtake the 
coach, he thought it more prudent to go directly 
to the Earl's house. Not finding him at home, he 
walked about within sight of the door till his Lord- 
ship returned, when he accosted him in the manner 

before related. From the Earl of 's, my 

brother went to Marlborough Street to Lord 
Byron's; and accusing him of being concerned with 
the Earl in seducing his sister, his Lordsliip denied 
having any knowledge of the aflixir, which he 
solemnly asserted iqmi his honour ; declaring at the 
same time, as indeed he could do with a greater de- 
gree of truth, that he had not seen me that evening. 


" My brother, placing an implicit confidence in 
the assertions of Lord Byron, grew enraged against 
me, without making any inquiries whether I was 
really culpable upon this occasion or not. Giving 
me over therefore as a lost, abandoned girl, he 
immediately set out for Portsmouth, and left me 
unprotected. This I may justly consider as the 
most unfortunate event I had hitherto experienced ; 
for, being deprived of his protection at a time 
when it was so extremely requisite to my re- 
establishment in life, I was left open to the attacks 
of every insolent pretender, wliose audacity liis 
very character, as he w^as distinguished for his 
bravery, would have repressed," 

It seems strange that George Anne Bellamy 
should remain quietly in this lodging without making 
any attempt to escape ; but the actions of a girl of 
fifteen or sixteen can scarcely be judged by the 
standard of mature experience. The scandal 
found its way into the newspapers, and even 
her own mother believed that her daugliter's 
elopement had been voluntary. The latter wrote 
several letters to her mother, but owing to the 
duplicity of a relative Kving in the house, she 
never received one of them. Anxiety, and shame 
at her conduct being so misrepresented by the 
public press, caused a violent fever which brought 
her to the brink of the grave. The public scandal 


utterly destroyed her professional rejDUtation, and 
she was thrown upon the world without any 
ostensible means of living. 

As soon as she was able to travel, she went to 
Essex on a visit to some Quaker relations of her 
mother's, who received her kindly and paid over 
to her a legacy of 200/., upon condition that she 
would never go on the stage ; she having carefully 
concealed from them tliat she had already em- 
braced that profession. She kept up the deception 
for some time, but it was finally revealed to her 
relatives by her meeting with the famous Zachary 
Moore, one of the chief men of fashion of the day, 
who managed to get rid of 25,000/. a year, and at 
forty was glad to accept an cnsigncy in a regiment 
at Gibraltar. Meeting her in company, a friend 
drew his attention to the charmmg Quaker ; upon 
which he unheedingly exclaimed in amazement, 
*' A Quaker, indeed ! Why ! it is Miss Bellamy 
the celebrated actress, who met with so much 
ap})lauso tlic last winter at Covent Garden 
Theatre ! '"' As soon as the worthy broad-brims 
made this discovery, they at once turned her out, 
and she was obliged to seek shelter in a farmer's 
house. From this refuge she wrote to her mother, 
asking her to take her back. That pious lady 
consented to do so upon this occasion — for, had 
not the truant the sum of 200/. ! 


George Anne returned to London, and deter- 
mined to live down the scandal concerning her 
involuntary elopement. She and her mother set 
out one morning to ask E^ich for another engage- 
ment. On the way there they accidentally met 
Sheridan, then manager of the Smock Alley 
Theatre, Dublin. Could anything have been more 
opportune ! Sheridan had come to London to 
raise recruits for the winter season ; and upon 
being introduced to Miss Bellamy, at once ex- 
pressed a desire to engage her. But mother and 
dauditer recollected the obri<rations under which 
they were to Rich, and declined to come to any 
arrangement without first consulting liim. 

The brusque but good-hearted manager at once 
gave a very good proof of his disinterestedness. 
He advised the young actress, by all means, to 
accept Sheridan's proposal ; pointing out to her 
the advantage of receiving instruction from so 
great a master. Moreover, he told her that she 
would have an opportunity of appearing in Dublin 
in a series of principal 2:)ai'ts ; a proceeding impos- 
sible on a London stage, the possession of parts — 
at that time — being considered as much the pro- 
perty of performers as their weekly salary. Indeed, 
if the manager dared to exercise his discretion, the 
popular actor or actress threatened to throw up 
liis or her engagement. Even the autocratic 


David Garrick — -who was afraid of his life of a 
woman's tongue — trembled under the tyranny of 
Kitty Olive in this respect. She played Portia atro- 
ciously, yet he dared not take the part from her for- 
cibly nor interdict her comic (?) interpolations in the 
trial scene ! " I grieve to lose you, Kitty !" lie 
sighed sentimentally when she retired. " You lie ! 
Davie ! you lie 1" she retorted, " and you know 
you do. You would light up for joy, only the 
candles would cost you sixpence !" 

Sheridan got together a brilliant company, and 
they all set out one morning from London by 
coach to Holyhead. Arrived at Chester, the chief 
part of the journey was now made upon horse- 
b;ick ; and as the miijoi'ity of the travellers — 
Georofe Anne amotiijst the number — had never 
been on horseback before, various ludicrous inci- 
dents arose out of their inexperience. At Chester 
they were joined by a Mr. Crump, an Irish linen 
merchant, an Adonis of fifty, with an enormous 
fortune and a susce])tiblo heart. He fell violently 
in love with the lively young actress, and after 
making several efibrts at length summoned up 
couraofe thus to address her : — 

** My dear Miss Bellamy," said he, as they sat 
in the inn parlour at Bangor, " were you ever in 
love ?" 

" Oh yes, violently !" was the reply. 

VOL. I. P 


" Are you really attached to the person V he 
inquired in some perturbation. 

" For ever !" was the emphatic reply. 

" It would perhaps be deemed impertinent," 
continued the gentleman, " were I to presume to 
ask with whom." 

" It can be of no consequence to you, sir," said 
George Anne, with a melodramatic air ; " but if it 
is, I will gratify your curiosity by infonning you 
that it is with myself/ I am a female Narcissus, 
and shall continue so." 

The entrance of the rest of the company only 
gave the enamoured swain time to say, " Then I 
am satisfied." 

In his " View of the Irish Stage," Hitchcock 
thus alludes to this first engagement of George 
Anne Bellamy in Dublin : — " Miss Bellamy, a 
young actress then rising rapidly into fame, was 
applied to, and such advantageous terms offered as 

she readily embraced It is certain she was 

then considered as a very valuable acquisition to 
the Irish stage. ""^ 

On the 11th of November, 1745, she made 
her first appearance upon the Dublin stage in 
the character of Monimia, in " The Orphan," the 
character in which she had first appeared, and 

* Hitdicock's "View of the Irish Stage," vol. i. pp. IIO-SO. 


scored such a success in Drury Lane with Quin. 
Barry played Castalio, and Sheridan supported her 
as Chamont. Her success was immediate, the 
pubHc enthusiasm knew no hounds, and she soon 
became a reigning favourite. In private she was 
much noticed by Mrs. O'Hara, Lord Tyrawley's 
sister, by the Hon. Mrs. Butler, and by other 
women of rank and note. Garrick joined the 
company at this theatre in the December of the 
same year, in consequence of a dispute which he 
had had with Bich. No wonder the Dubhn 
theatrical season of this j^ear was a brilliant 
one, for three such capital performers as Garrick, 
Sheridan, and Barry in one company was a circum- 
stance that had hardly ever before been known. 

" King John" was the next play cast for per- 
formance at Smock Alley, and George Anne 
Bellamy, urged thereto privately by Sheridan, 
insisted upon playing Constance. Garrick objected 
to this, and refused to play in the piece if Miss 
Bellamy were cast for that character. Sheridan 
was obliged to give up to the great actor, and to 
let him have his way, much to the chagrin of the 
young lady. She had set her heart upon appear- 
ing as Constance, and accordingly flew to her lady 
patronesses in Dublin to complain of the treat- 
ment she had received. It was an unwise thing 
for her to have done, for Garrick had no private 

r 2 


pique against her, and used his theatrical judg- 
ment in objecting to so important a part as that 
of Constance being given to one who was, com- 
paratively speaking, as yet a novice. B\it the hot- 
tempered actress determined to be revenged. She 
got her lady patronesses — notably Mrs. Butler — 
to send round to all their friends to request 
they would > not go to the theatre the evening 
" King John" was performed. The scheme suc- 
ceeded, the house was but one-third filled, and the 
receipts did not amount to forty pounds. 

This was the first theatrical humiliation the 
immortal Roscius had ever experienced, and he 
severely repented preferring Mrs. Furnival, — who 
played the part of Constance, — to George Anne. 
But what completed her triumph was, that when 
the same play was again performed, witli Sheridan 
as tlie lung, Gar rick as the Bastard, and Miss 
Bellamy as Constance, more people were turned 
away from the doors than could get places ; and 
the dispute relative to the characters, which all 
Dublin was aware of, made the audience receive 
her with the warmest marks of approbation. 

Notwithstanding this success, she was de- 
termined to return the mortification Garrick 
had been the cause of She waited for an op- 
portunity, which soon presented itself to her. 
The great tragedian was to have two benefits 


during the season, and in order that they should 
not come too near each other, it was arranged 
that one of them should take place early in it. 
For the first benefit lie had fixed upon the play of 
**Jane Shore," and asked Miss Bellamy to play 
that character. She absolutely refused ; alleging 
as her excuse the objection he had made to her 
playing Constance — namely, her youtli. Garrick 
expostulated and entreated, but the young lady 
was iiiexorable ; and only yielded to the solicita- 
tions of her friend, Mrs. Butler. In connexion 
with this a ludicrous incident happened. Garrick 
had written a letter of entreaty to Miss Bellamy, 
in which he said that if she would only " oblige 
him he woidd write for her a goody-goody epilogue ; 
which, with the help of her eyes, should do more 
miscliief than ever the flesh or the devil had done 
since the world began." This ridiculous epistle 
he directed, " To My Soul's Idol, the Beautified 
Ophelia," and delivered it to his servant with 
orders to take it to Miss Bellamy. The messenger 
had some more agreeable amusement to ])ursue 
than going on his master's errands, and he gave it 
to a porter in the street, without having attended 
to tlie absurd address upon it. The porter, upon 
reading the superscription, and not knowing any 
lady throughout the whole city of Dublin who 
bore the title either of " My Soul's Idol" or " The 


Beautified Ophelia," naturally concluded that the 
whole thing was a joke. He carried the missive 
to his master, who happened to be a newspaper 
proprietor, and by that means it got the next day 
into the public prints. Garrick — who was very 
sensitive of ridicule — was much annoyed at this ; 
for it was tantamount to his making a public 
apology to the young actress. 

At the close of the season Garrick returned to 
London with the rich harvest which had crowned 
his toils in Dublin. U2)on the day of his departure 
he rode out to the Sheds of Clontarf, where Mrs. 
Bellamy and her daughter were staying for the 
benefit of the sea air and the bathing. Mrs. Butler 
and her daughter were there at the time, and the 
former presenting him with a sealed packet, said 
ceremoniously — " I here present you, Mr. Garrick, 
with something more valuable than life. In it 
you will read my sentiments ; but I strictly enjoin 
you not to open it till you have passed the Hill of 
Howth." Garrick took the packet with a con- 
ceited and conscious air, confident that it contained 
some valuable present, and possibly a declaration 
of tender sentiments. Wliat must have been his 
dismay, upon opening the packet, to find that it 
contained nothing more than "Wesley's Hymns" 
and " Dean Swift's Discourse on the Trinity," 
together with a short note, saying that he would 


have leisure during his voyage to study the one 
and to digest the other. Annoyed and mortified, 
he offered both as a sacrifice to Neptune. 

Miss Bellamy was now so great a favourite with 
the Dublin public that Sheridan re-engaged her 
for the ensuing season of 1746. Lord Chesterfield 
Avas at this time Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and 
took much notice of her ; so that her aristocratic 
connexions were of much value to the theatre 
upon benefit nights. The tragedy of "All for 
Love, or the World well Lost," was revived, and 
with it the theatre re-opened (174G) with Barry 
and Sheridan in their unrivalled characters of 
Antony and Ventidius. Some extraordinary inci- 
<l(Mi(,s \v(m;o coniicctcHl witb tlio g(^tLiiig-up of tliis 
play, whicli Miss Bellamy records in one of her 
letters. The whole afiair presents a curious picture 
of the Dubhn society of the day. 

"The manager," says Miss Bellamy, "in an 
excursion he had made during the summer to 
London, liad purchased a superb suit of clothes 
that had belonged to the Prmcess of Wales, and 
had been only worn by her on the birthday. This 
was made into a dress for me to play the character 
of Cleopatra ; and as the ground of it was silver 
tissue, my mother thought that by turning the 
body of it in, it would be no unbecoming addition 
to my waist, which was remarkably small. My 


maid-servant was accordingly sent to the theatre 
to assist the dresser and mantua-maker in pre- 
paring it, and also in sewing on a number of 
diamonds, my patroness not only having fiu'nished 
me with her own, but borrowed several others of 
her acquaintance for me. When the women had 
tinished the work, they all went out of the room 
and left the door of it indiscreetly open. 

" Mrs. Furnival (who owed me a grudge, on 
account of my eclipsing her, as the more favourable 
reception I met with from the public gave her 
room to conclude I did, and likewise for the 
stir which had beerj made last season about the 
character of Constance) accidentally passed by the 
door of my dressing-room in the way to her own, 
as it stood open. Seeing my rich dress thus lying 
exposed, and observing no person to prevent her, 
she stepped in and carried oif the Queen of 
Egypt's paraphernalia, to adorn herself in the 
character of Octavia, the Roman matron, which 
she was to perform. By remarking from time to 
time my dress, which was very different from the 
generality of heroines, Mrs. Furnival had just 
acquired taste enough to despise the black velvet 
in which those ladies were usually habited. And 
without considering the impropriety of enrobing a 
Roman matron in the habiliments of the Egyptian 
Queen, or perhaps not knowing that there was 


any impropriety in it, she determined, for once in 
her hfetime, to be as fine as myself, and that at 
my expense ; she accordingly set to work to let 
out the clothes which, througli my mother's econo- 
mical advice, had been taken in, 

" When my servant returned to the room, and 
found the valuable dress which had been com- 
mitted to her charge missing, her fright and agi- 
tation were beyond expression. She ran like a 
mad creature about the theatre, inquiring of every 
one whether they had seen anything of it. At 
length she was informed that Mrs. Furnival had 
got possession of it ; when, running to that lady's 
dressing-room, she was nearly petrified at be- 
holding the work, which had cost licr so 
much pains, undone. My damsel's veins, unfor- 
tunately for Mrs. Furnival, were rich with the 
blood of the O'Bryens. Thus quahfied, she at first 
demanded the dress with tolerable civility ; but 
meeting with a peremptory refusal, the blood of 
her groat forefathers boiled within her veins, and 
without any more ado she fell tooth-and-nail upon 
])oor Mrs. Furnival. So violent was the assault, 
that had not assistance arrived in time to rescue 
her from the fangs of the enraged Hibernian 
nymph, my theatrical rival would probably have 
never had an opportunity of appearing once in her 
life adorned with real jewels. 


" When I came to the theatre, I found my ser- 
vant dissolved in tears at the sad disaster ; for 
notwithstanding her heroic exertions, she had not 
been able to bring off the cause of the contest. 
But so far was I from partaking of her grief, that 
I could not help being highly diverted at the 
absurdity of the incident. Nothing concerning a 
theatre could at that time affect my temper, 
except the disappointment I had met with in not 
appearing in the part of Constance. I sent indeed 
for the jewels, but the lady condescended to send 
me word that I should have theiri after the play. 

" In this situation I had no other resource than 
to reverse the dresses, and appear as plain in the 
character of the luxurious Queen of Egypt as 
Antony's good wife, although the sister of 
CiBsar, ought to have been. In the room of pre- 
cious stones, with which my dress should have 
been decorated, I substituted pearls ; and of all 
my finery I retained only my diadem, that indis- 
pensable mark of royalty. 

" Every transaction that takes place in the 
theatre, and every circumstance relative to it, are 
as well known in Dublin as they would be in a 
country town. The report of the richness and 
elegance of my dress had been universally the sub- 
ject of conversation for some time before the night 
of performance, when, to the surprise of the 


audience, I appeared in white satin. My kind 
patroness, who sat in the stage-box, seemed not to 
be able to account for such an unexpected circum- 
stance. And not seeinfy me adorned witli the 


jewels she had lent me, she naturally supposed I 
had reserved my regalia till the scene in which I 
was to meet my Antony. 

" When I had first entered the green-room, the 
manager, who expected to see me splendidly 
dressed, as it was natural to suppose the enchant- 
ing Cleopatra would have been upon such an 
occasion, expressed with some warmth his surprise 
at a disappointment, which he could only imjjute to 
caprice. Without being in the least discomposed 
by hie warmtli, I coolly told him that I had taken 
the advice Ventidius liad sent me by Alexis, and 
had parted with both my clothes and jewels to 
Antony's wife. Mr. Sheridan could not conceive 
my meaning, but as it was now too late to make 
any alteration he said no more upon the subject. 
He was not, however, long at a loss for an exjjla- 
nation ; for, going to introduce Octavia to the 
Emperor, he discovered the jay in all her borrowed 
plumes. An apparition could not have more 
astonished him. He was so confounded that it 
was some time before he could go on with his 
part. At the same mstant Mrs. Butler exclaimed 
aloud, " Good Heaven, the woman has got on my 


diamonds !" The gentlemen in tlie pit concluded 
that Mrs. Butler had been robbed of them by 
Mrs. Furnival, and the general consternation 
occasioned by so extraordinary a scene is not to 
be described. But the audience, observing Mr. 
Sheridan to smile, they supposed there was some 
mystery in the affair, which induced them to wait 
with patience till the conclusion of the act. As 
soon as it was finished, they bestowed their 
applause upon Antony and his faithful veteran ; 
but, as if they had all been animated by the same 
mind, they cried out, ' No moi-c Furnival I No 
more Furnival !' The fine-dressed lady, dis- 
appointed of the acclamations she expected to 
receive on account of the grandeur of her habili- 
ments, and thus hooted for the impropriety of her 
conduct, very prudently called fits to lier aid, 
which incapacitated her from appearing again, and 
the audience had the good-nature to wait patiently 
till Mrs. Elmy, whom curiosity had led to the 
theatre, had dressed to finish the part. But the 
next night, either inspired by the brilliancy of 
my ornaments, or animated by the sight of his 
Excellency Lord Chesterfield, who, together with 
his lady, graced the theatre, it was the general 
opinion that I never played with so much sj^irit, 
or did greater justice to a character. The applause 
I received was universal." 


In consequence of an insult which Miss Bel- 
lamy received upon this very night from a gentle- 
man at the wing, Mr, Sheridan made a rule which 
was rigidly enforced — that no gentleman should 
be allowed behind the scenes. Lord Chesterfield 
obhged the offender, whose name was St. Ledger, 
to make a public apology for this breach of 

During this season Miss Bellamy played all the 
chief female characters, and was as much respected 
in private as she was received with enthusiasm in 
public. One evening after she had performed 
Lady Townley, in the " Provoked Husband," she 
received a card from Mrs. Butler, now residing 
ibr the season in Stephen's Crecii, requesting her 
to come to her house as soon as she was at liberty, 
and to come without waiting to change her dress. 
She did so, and was much surprised to find the 
gentlemen alone spoke to her, not one of the ladies 
condescending to take the least notice of her. 
Even the lady whose guest she was only deigned 
to welcome her on her entrance with a formal 
bend of her head. Amazed and shocked at this 
reception, she went up to Mrs. O'Hara, and asked 
the cause of it. That lady replied that a few 
minutes would decide whether or not she should 
ever notice her again. At this juncture a stranger 
entered the room. He was a most attractive- 


looking man, and at once singled out Miss Bellamy 
as the object of liis attention. They talked on 
various matters for some time, the company 
evidently watching them. At length some one 
came up and interrupted the conversation, and 
the gentleman, going up to the hostess, earnestly 
inquired of her who the captivating fair one was. 
'' Surely you must know her," said Mrs. Butler, 
half aloud ; "I am certain you know her ; nay, 
that you are well acquainted with her." In vain 
he protested that he did not know the young lady, 
assuring Mrs. Butler that ho had never before 
seen her, and avowed that he now felt himself 
greatly interested in the inquiry. " Fie, fie, 
Mr. Medlicott," returned Mrs. Butler, " what can 
you say for yourself, when I inform you that this is 
the dear girl whose character you so cruelly aspersed 
at dinner ./" 

Of course Miss Bellamy now saw what had 
been the cause of the coolness upon the part of the 
ladies. Her traducer hastily left the company, 
and Mrs. Butler, coming up to her young fi-iend, 
took her by the hand, and said : "My dear child, 
you have gone through a fiery trial ; but it was a 
very necessary one. . This gentleman had vilely 
traduced your character. We were all perfectly 
convinced that you did not merit what he said of 
you ; but had he seen you first at the theatre here, 


lie would doubtlessly have maintained his asser- 
tions with oaths, and there would have been no 
possibility of contradicting him, however favour- 
ably we may have thought of you, notwith- 

Miss Bellamy had been ailing for some time j^re- 
viously, and this, coupled with the annoyance of this 
little episode, caused a fever, which incapacitated 
her from playing for some wliilc. Wlicn at length 
she was able to attend the theatre, a disn.irreeable 
event happened which retarded her perfect re- 
covery, and, with some other concurrent circum- 
stances, was the cause of her leaving Ireland. 

Again she was subject to an assault from a per- 
son who intruded behind tlie scenes, despite Mr. 
Slieridan's strict orders that no strangers should 
be admitted. This man, whose name was Kelly, 
tried to force the door of her dressing-room, and 
was obliged to be forcibly removed by order of 
Sheridan. The offender took his place in the pit, and 
the play proceeded until tlie first scene of the last 
act, when an orange or apple was thrown at Mr, 
Sheridan, with such force that dented the iron of 
the false nose, wliich the part he was playing re- 
quired him to wear, into his forehead. 

Sheridan, who, besides being born and bred a 
gentleman, possessed as much personal courage 
as any man breathing, immediately stopped the 


further performance of the piece, and ordered the 
curtain down. Kelly, foolishly for himself, again 
intruded behind the scenes, and Sheridan, hearing 
he was the one who had been the cause of all the 
disturbance, gave him a good thrashing. The 
victim slunk away to Lucas's Coffee House, and 
there, giving his own version of the affair, enlisted 
the Dublin bucks, who frequented that resort, 
upon his side. The next evening they visited the 
theatre, and no sooner did Slieridan make his 
appearance, than they exclaimed, " Out with the 
ladies, and down with the house." A most dis- 
graceful riot took place, during which the ring- 
leaders jumped upon the stage, and Sheridan nar- 
rowly escaped with his life. They even penetrated 
to Miss Bellamy's dressing-room, and it was with 
difficidty two or three of her gentlemen friends 
preserved her from insult, and saw her safely home 
in her chair. 

The Dublin magistrates, having reason to 
apprehend that greater mischief would ensue if the 
Smock Alley Tlieatre were kept open, ordered it 
to be shut up again until the benefits com- 
menced. But the affair did not end there. The 
College boys, in order to revenge the cause of their 
fellow-student, Sheridan, as well as to show their 
resentment at being dejDrived of their favourite 
amusement, invited Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Kelly, 


and" several other ringleaders of the rioters to 
breakfast at Trinity College. Having once got 
the fire-eaters into their hands, the students put 
them under the College immp, and gave them cold 
water enough to keep their heads perfectly cool to 
defend their cause against the manager, who had 
that day commenced a prosecution against them. 
The linen merchant, Mr. Crump, had been most 
assiduous in his attentions during Miss Bellamy's 
engagement in Dublin, and her mother did all in 
her power to further the suit of this Adonis of 
fifty ; but without success. One of her numerous 
admirers, named Jephson, addressed the following 
lines to her upon her leaving Dublin at the 
termination of the season : — 

Hail cliild of Nature, and the pride of Art! 
Equally formed to glad and pain the heart ; 
Thro' various passions you accomplish'd shine, 
Tour looks expressive sj^eak the coming line. 
Ador'd while living, with applause you die ; 
Each Judge beholds you with a Jaffir's eye. 

Allusion is made in these lines to her appearing 
in the character of JJelvidera, in wliich she scored 
a success. 

During this visit to Dublin, Miss Bellamy had 
become acquainted with the Gunnings, the famous 
Irish beauties who were so poor that they were 
obhged to borrow Pear Woffino-ton's court-di'esses 
to appear at the drawing-rooms of Dublin 

VOL. I. Q 


Castle. Of them, Horace Walpole wrote in 

" There are two Irish girls of no fortune, who 
are declared the handsomest women alive. I think 
there being two so handsome, and both such perfect 
figures, is tlieir cliicf excellence, for singly T have 
seen much handsomer figures than either; however, 
they can't walk in the park, or go to Vauxhall, 
but such mobs follow them that they are therefore 
driven away." 

Miss Bellamy was returning from rehearsal one 
day, when she heard cries proceeding from a house 
in Britain Street. She went in to inquire the cause, 
and foimd a lady and two beautiful young girls in 
much distress, as the bailiffs were in the house. 
The lady was Mrs. Gunning, and the two girls 
were the afterwards famous Maria and Elizabeth. 
Through the instrumentality of the actress they 
were released from their difficulties. Their 
romantic story merits a separate notice. 

When Miss Bellamy returned to London, she 
accepted an engagement with her old friend Ilich ; 
and on the 22nd of October, 1748, she appeared 
in Covent Garden Theatre as Belvidera. " Miss 
Bellamy, her 1st appearance here for 3 years — 
she has been in Ireland," says the manuscript play- 
bill in the British Museum. Quin received her 
with his customary kindness, and Lord Tyrawley 


having again returned to England, he endeavoured 
to bring about a reconciliation between the young 
actress and her father. Mrs. Woffington, novp- in 
the zenith of her career, was also acting in the 
same theatre at this time, and from the playbills 
we gather that they frequently acted in the same 
plays. They both played in Dryden 's " All for 
Love," upon the occasion of Quin's benefit, early in 
the season of 1748-1749, Miss Bellamy sustaining 
the part of Octavia, and Mrs. Woffington that of 
Cleopatra. The Duchess of Queensberry was in 
the theatre upon the occasion, and sent round 
to Miss Bellamy to say that she had much curio- 
sity to visit the green-room, which she had hco,]'d 
was 8U[)cnor to many fashionable saloons for tlie 
wit and politeness to be met with there. Miss 
Bellamy took her patroness behind the scenes as 
soon as ever the performance was over. Conceive 
the horror of the former when, on opening the 
door, there was revealed to them the lovely Woff- 
ington, still crowned and robed as the Egyptian 
Queen, flourishing a foaming pot of porter m her 
hand, and vociferating, " Confusion to order ! Let 
liberty thrive !" A congenial party surrounded 
tlie table, which was covered with mutton-pies. 
The disenchanted Duchess stood aghast for a 
moment, and then retired abruptly, muttering — 
" Is lieU broke loose ?" The next day, when Miss 

Q 2 


Bellamy called to apologise, lier Grace smiled, 
and said, " Really, from what I saw last night, I 
should think that in taste and delicacy the Nor- 
wood gipsies are at least on a par with the accom- 
plished ladies of the theatre." 

Lord Byron, although recently married to a 
young and charming wife, again persecuted her 
with his unwelcome attentions ; but was repulsed 
by the prompt measures adopted by both Bich 
and Quin, and it would have been well for George 
Anne Bellamy if she liad always attended to the 
advice of these two most faithful and disinterested 
monitors. Up to this date, her private reputation 
was stainless, notwithstanding the many and great 
temptations to which she was exposed. 

Lord Tyrawley now exercised his parental 
authority, and peremptorily desired her to make 
up her mind to marry the husband he had selected 
for her, who was no other than Mr. CiTimp, the 
linen merchant. This she decidedly refused to 

It was the turning-point of her life. Sir George 
Metham again came upon the scene just at this 
juncture, and Miss Bellamy took her part in an 
oft-acted farce in real life, for she eloped with him 
under promise of marriage. It was towards the 
end of May, 1749, when she was playing one 
evening in " The Provoked Wife," that Metham 


came to the stage-door and said he had a carriage 
ready to take her away, and a furnished house 
prepared for her. At the end of the fourth act 
she eloped with him, without waiting to change 
her dress, and left the actors in the lurch. When 
called for to appear in the last scene, she could not 
be found, and Quin had the unpleasant task of 
making excuses to the audience. In liis blunt 
way he told them that they must do without the 
fantastical girl of quality, who had left Ueartfree 
(her lover in the play), upon finding an admirer 
that was made on purpose for her. This latter was 
in allusion to one of her own speeches in the first 

Motliam took her to a house in Leicester Street, 
Leicester Fields, and here they lived for some 
time. They then removed to York ; and in 
the December of the same year, George Anne 
Bellamy's first and favourite child, George, was 
born prematurely. They were soon involved in 
many diilicultics ; for Metham was an inveterate 
gambler, and the lady was no economist. Absolute 
necessity obliged her to aj^peal again to llich to 
give her an engagement. The wary manager 
sounded the public mind upon the subject, and, 
finding that her escapade was likely to be forgiven, 
he again engaged her at a salary of 71. per week, 
and a beneht during the season. 


On the 23rd of January, 1750, although as yet 
scarcely recovered from her recent illness, she re- 
appeared at Covent Garden as Belvidera, and was 
enthusiastically received. On the 1st of March 
following she played Juliet to the Romeo of John 
Lee, father of the two Misses Lee, one of whom 
wrote the comedy of " The Chapter of Accidents," 
and the novel of " The Hecess ;" and the other, 
"The New Canterhury Tales." Her name fre- 
quently appears in the hills until the close of the 

Dcht and dlllicidtics of many kinds surrouiidod 
George Anne and the father of her child. The 
gentleman was an incurable gambler, and at 
length they were again compelled to retire to 
York, and live quietly for a time. Here they 
made the acquaintance of several men of rank and 
fashion, who each contributed 1000/., and they set 
up a Faro-bank. Miss Bellamy raised the amount 
necessary by pawning her jewels. The result 
proved a great success ; for, in a short time. Miss 
Bellamy redeemed her diamonds, paid her debts, 
and found herself several hundred pounds in 

However, this doubtful manner of procuring 
money had to be abruptly relinquished, for Garrick 
offered George Anne an engagement at Drury 
Lane ; and she was too sensible not to accept it- 


This season of 1750-51 is memorable for the 
rivahy between the great London theatres — Barry 
and Gibber at the one, Garrick and Bellamy at 
the other. PufFing was resorted to, and the houses 
filled with paper. Garrick was the victor, but 
only by a single night. 

From tliis, until 1753, Miss Bellamy acted 
frequently, and was always well received. Sir 
George Metham had been uniformly unfortunate 
at play, and uj)on her had devolved the entire 
expense of keeping both liim and their child. She 
had taken a house at Bichmond, but was obliged 
to give it up ; so they returned to London, and 
took lodgings in King Street. 

Li 1753 Dr. Young's tragedy of " The Brothers" 
was acted, for the sake of giving the profits to the 
Society for the Propagation of tlie Gospel. Miss 
Bellamy, who played the Princess Erixene, objected 
to the line — 

I'll specak in thunder to you— 

which she considered absurd. The obstinate and 
eccentric author insisted that it was the most 
forcible line in the piece. " It would be more so," 
she remarked, "if you added hghtning." Upon 
this he lost his temper, and declared it was the 
best play he had ever written. With true feminiiie 
tact she reminded him of " The Revenge," and 


threw the oil of flattery upon tlie foaming waters 
of his wrath. He strode up and down the room 
several times, then seized his pen, struck out the 
line, and ended by inviting himself home to dinner 
with the fair critic — a bold step for a reverend 
divine, and the author of the " Night Thoughts." 
Quin was of the party. The Doctor mentioned 
the little fracas which had occurred in the green- 
room. "Oh," replied Quin, calmly, "if you only 
knew what that girl can do as well as say, you 
would cease to be surprised at anything relative to 

George Anne had now lived for about three 
years with Sir George Metham, and he had never 
said anything about making her his wife. One day 
she asked him, point-blank, wlien he intended to 
marry her. lie made no reply, but abruptly left 
the house. In a short time he returned with a 
lawyer, not, however, to di-aw up the marriage con- 
tract, but to settle upon her an allowance of 300/. a 
year, and the sum of 2000/. on their son George. 
To her faithful friend, Quin, she applied for advice 
in this matter. "If you were actually married," 
said he, " you could not assume his name while 
you continue on the stage ; and it vdU be neces- 
sary for you to pursue that profession as long as 
Mr. Metham 's father lives. If you remaui attached 
to each other, I cannot see of what real service the 


ceremony would be with regard to outward ap- 
pearance. " She acted upon his advice, and did not 
press the matter. Her domestic troubles by no 
means jDrevented her from diligently pursuing her 
profession. She was the fashion ; people followed 
her, and she brought good houses. " I came to 
admire Garrick !" exclaimed the great Lord Mans- 
field one day, "but I go away enchanted with 

On one occasion " Lear" was performed by com- 
mand of His Majesty George II., and Miss Bellamy 
appeared as Cordelia in it. She was naturally 
anxious to obtain some com2)liment from the royal 
auditor, either to her person or her talent. But all 
that could bo extracted from that matter-of-fact 
sovereign, who hated " Bainting and Boetry," was, 
" She wears a prodigious hoop !" At this time 
actresses played tragic and heroic parts in the 
fashionable costume of their own times. Mrs. 
Delany says that, in Dublin, the effect of Mrs. 
Wolllng ton's Maria was greatly marred by the 
immoderate size of her hoops. 

But Sir George Metliam was not the only 
admirer whose addresses she tolerated at this time. 
Count Haslang, one of the foreign ambassadors, 
Mr. Digges (a well-known actor), Mr. Calcraft, and 
even the Hon. Mr. Fox, were amongst her suitors. 
She was not very cruel to this varied Ust of wor- 


shippers, and in her Memoirs coolly chronicles her 
many eml)arrassments in trying to keep them 
apart. Sir George Metham, in a fit of jealousy, 
abruptly left her one day, and she forthwith 
solaced herself by entering into an engagement 
with the most perseverhig of her suitors, Mr. Cal- 
craft — a person of much wealth, and a peculiarly 
odious character. He made some plausible excuse 
for not marrying her immediately, but bound him- 
self to do so within six or seven years, or forfeit fifty 
thousand pounds. With this man she lived for some 
time, and at length — probably becoming tired of 
him — she professed to be very much astonished to 
find he was already married, and that therefore his 
promise to her was of none eifect. With her cus- 
tomary straining after effect and notoriety at any 
cost, she assumed the tone of an injured maiden, 
had the whole affair, with a copy of the engagement 
to pay the fifty thousand pounds, printed ; but 
Calcraft was too wary for her, and he succeeded 
in suppressing the pamphlet at the time. 

No notice of this actress would be complete 
without giving the story of " The Chicken 

" Having been much complimented upon the 
beauty of my hand, and my vanity not being a 
little augmented thereby, I ^ determined to try 
every art in my power to render it more con- 


spicuoualy white, and more worthy of the praises 
that had been bestowed upon it. Accordingly, in 
order to attain this grand point, which I then 
thouglit of the utmost consequence, I sent to War- 
ren's, the perfumer's, for a pair of chicken gloves. 

" When I had obtained these wonder-working 
coverings, I drew them on as I went to rest, and 
with some difficulty prevailed on ClitTord to fasten 
my 1 lands to the bod's head, to accclcrato the 
wished-for efiect. Thus manacled, o,nd pleasing 
myself with the expectation of finding my project 
^ succeed, I fell asleep. But, O dire to tell ! I had 
not become the vassal of Morpheus above two 
hours, when I awoke and found that I had totally 
lost tlio use of my right hand. 

" Alarmed by tlic accident, I hastily called my 
maid, who lay in an adjacent room, to come and 
unshackle me ; and finding, when my arms were 
at hberty, that my apprehensions were too true, I 
ordered her to send immediately for one of the 
faculty. In about half an hour a gentleman came, 
and, being informed of the terrible calamity that 
had befallen me, and the dreadful disappointment 
I had experienced, he, laughing, told me that he 
would take such methods as would effectually cure 
my white hand. And this he executed according 
to the letter of his promise, for he applied to my 
arm a mustard blister, which extended from my 


shoulder to my fingers'-ends. An application that 
was not only attended with excruciating pain, but 
was productive of great mortification, for both the 
public and myself were debarred from the pleasure 
of viewing the beauty I so much prided myself in 
for a long time, as I was obliged to wear gloves 
during the remainder of the winter." 

The good-natured Woffington had Httle in com- 
mon with the vain and selfish George Anne 
Bellamy. The stories of their rivalries and 
jealousies are endless, and frequently most childish. 
Their green-room squabbles were usually town 
talk ; and the famous quarrel — which resulted in 
their never again speaking to one another off the 
stage — has been recorded by Foote in one of his 
pieces of the day, and has been already given in 
full in tlie memoir of Mrs. Woffington. 

Apart from the license of her conduct, George 
Anne Bellamy's besetting sin seems to have been 
her wasteful extravagance. She never dreamt of 
denying herself anything, and was in constant 
danger at this time of being arrested for debt. 
Her life was a strange mixture of hardship, plea- 
sure, and adventure. Although publicly patronised 
by women of standing, she was no longer sought 
after in private. For a long time, with her cus- 
tomary Jinesse, she attempted to extenuate her 
conduct, and adopted the role of an injured woman ; 


but lier wiles did not succeed, her behaviour being 
too notorious ; so she at length calmly accepted 
her situation. Although but little past thirty 
years of age, the reckless way in which she had 
been living had so injured her appearance that she 
coidd scarcely procure an engagement, and the 
once peerless beauty was contemptuously offered 
six pounds a week by Colman. This downfall was 
owing to herself Her reckless love of pleasure 
and dissipation had led her to neglect her pro- 
fession. She had once almost shared the throne 
assumed by Mrs. Gibber, but she wanted the 
sustained zeal and anxious study of that lady, 
and cared not, as Mrs. Gibber did, for one quiet 
abiding liomo, but siglicd for change, had it, and 
suffered for it. 

Mossop was now the proprietor of the Smock 
Alley Theatre in Dubhn. A rival theatre had 
been opened in Aungier Street, and Mossop hoped 
to turn public feeling in his favour by bringmg over 
Miss Bellamy, who had been formerly such an 
attraction in Dublin. He offered her one thousand 
pounds for the season of 17 GO — an offer she was 
not slow to accept. In doing so he relied upon 
the tradition of thirteen years before, when the 
grace and beauty of George Anne, quite as much 
as her dramatic powers, were powerful attractions. 
Mossop had not seen her, or he certainly woidd 


never have made such a Uberal offer. In ex23ecta- 
tlon of the beautiful Miss Bellamy, of whom they 
had heard so much, the students of Trinity College 
were assembled to see her alight from the coach. 
At length the long-expected phenomenon made her 
appearance. But how different from the lively and 
lovely girl who had ahghted in tlie same place 
thirteen years previously ! Fancy a dirty little 
creature, bent nearly double, enfeebled by fatigue, 
her countenance tinged with jaundice, and in every 
respect the reverse of a person who could make the 
least pretensions to beauty. A profound silence 
reigned ; they looked at her pityingly, and dispersed 
without a word. 

Tate Wilkinson, in his admirable and mode- 
rately-written Memoirs, gives the following account 
of George Anne's reception at the theatre : — 

" Mossop, as manager, made his first appearance 
as Pierre, in " Venice Preserved ;" Belvidera, Mrs. 
Bellamy, being the first night of her performing. 
Expectation was so great that the house filled as 
fast as the people could thrust in with or without 
paying. On speaking her first line beliind the 
scene — 

Lead me, ye virgins, lead me to that kind voice, — 

it struck the ears of the audience as uncouth and 
unmusical ; yet she was received, as was prepared 
and determined by all who were her or Mr. 


Mossop's friends, and the public at large, with 
repeated plaudits on her entree. But the roses 
were fled ! the young, the once lovely Bellamy 
was turned haggard ! and her eyes, that used to 
charm all hearts, appeared sunk, large, hollow, and 
ghastly. Time ! Time ! thy glass should be 
often consulted ! for before the first short scene had 
elapsed, disappointment, chagrin, and pity sat on 
every eye and countenance. 

"By the end of the third act they were all 
(like Bobadil) planet-struck ; the other two acts 
hobbled through. Mossop was cut to the heart, 
and never played Pierre (one of his best j^arts) 
so indifferently as on that night. The curtain 
dropped, and poor Bellamy never after drew a 
single house there. She left Dublin without a 
single friend to regret her loss. What a change 
from the days of her youth f and as an actress of 
note, her name never more ranked in any theatre, 
nor did she ever again rise in public estimation." 
Tate Willtinson is invariably so scrupulously 
exact, that this account may be taken as a good 
estimate of the true state of afi^aii's. 

George Anne Bellamy had a mania for incurring 
debt. Whilst in Dublin her salary was fifty 
guineas a week, yet she never had a shilling 
beforehand. Her former suitor, Mr. Crump, sent 
her m a bill for 400/., " for ^vine and other articles;" 


and she, being unable to pay, was arrested, and 
her part had to be read that evening at the theatre. 
She was now hving under the protection of the 
actor Digges, and between him and Mbssop they 
managed to get her hberated. 

Such was the life she now led. As her physical 
chamis rapidly decayed, she found more and more 
difficulty in procuring an engagement. Debt and 
embarrassments increased, and at last frequent 
arrests in the open streets became quite common 
affairs with her. In her distress, she gladly 
accepted the situation of housekeeper to Count 
Haslang (one of her former lovers), whose suite, 
as belonging to an ambassador, enjoyed immunity 
from all law process. With her customary fickle- 
ness, she left the protection of this nobleman — 
who, of all her former admirers, was the only one 
who showed any kindness to the decayed beauty* — 
and then came fresh troubles : short and unsuc- 
cessful engagements — battles with creditors — the 
sale of her jewels and dresses — and, finally, residence 
within the Kules. 

At length, through the bounty and kindness of 
some of her friends of yore, to whom she apphed, 
she was released ; and the once beautiful and 

* Woodward, the actor, and another old lover, are both said to 
have left her legacies, but Mrs. Bellamy never received them. 


fascinating Bellamy became tlie occupant of two 
rooms adjoining the " Dog and Duck," which she 
rented at twelve shilHngs a week. 

What a condition for the lovely and gifted 
actress to come to ! Few women in her profession 
ever set out in life under more brilliant auspices, 
and she was wrecked upon the sands and shoals of 
her own imprudence and vanity. The rest of her 
life presents a pamful picture of begging, squalor, 
and destitution. In 1785 she published her 
famous " Apology for the Life of George Anne 
Bellamy," and this, in consequence of the many 
illustrious names mentioned in it, was somewhat 
of a pecuniary success for the publisher, and suc- 
ceeded hi bringing Mrs. Bellamy's name before the 
public. A benefit was arranged for her, of which 
the following account is given by Reynolds : — 

"I dwell for a moment on a last ajDpearance 
which I witnessed — namely, that of Mrs. Bellamy, 
who took her leave of the stage May 24th, 1785. 
On tills occasion, Miss Farren, the present Countess 
of Derby, spoke an address which concluded with 
the following couplet — 

But see oppress'd with gratitude and tears, 
To pay her duteous tribute she apjicars. 

" The curtain then ascended, and Mrs. Bellamy 
being discovered, the whole house immediately 
arose to mark their favourable inclmations towards 

VOL. I. B 


her, and from anxiety to obtain a view of this once 
celebrated actress, and, in consequence of the 
pubhcation of her Ufe, then celebrated authoress. 
She was seated in an armchair, from which she 
in vain attempted to rise, so completely was she 
subdued by her feelings. She, however, succeeded 
in muttering a few words, expressive of her 
gratitude, and then, sinking into her seat, the 
curtain dropped before her."^^ 

Three years afterwards the curtain dropped 
upon the drama of her strange and eventful life. 
Her loves, caprices, charms, extravagances, faro- 
table keeping, and sufferings, excited the wonder, 
pity, and contempt of the town for upwards of 
thirty years. Yet fashion thought no ill of her — 
during her prosperity — and male and female 
aristocrats stood sponsors for her children. She 
was a syren who went to ruin with each successive 
victim, but she rose from the wreck more beautiful 
and bewitching than ever. She was so beautiful, 
had eyes of such soft and loving a blue, unequalled 
for the expression of unbounded and rapturous 
love, was so marvellously fair, and was altogether 
so irresistible a sorceress, that she was universally 
loved as a woman by those whom she could 

* On this occasion, one of the chief characters was played by- 
Miss Catley, another distinguished Irish actress. 


beguile, and admired as an actress. Tate Wilkin- 
son says she died in a debtors' prison, a thing 
which is not at all unlikely. In the obituary 
cohunn of the Gentleman s Alagazine for February 
16th, 1788, the following notice occurs : — 

** Mrs. George Anne Bellamy, formerly a cele- 
brated actress, a woman who had seen many 
vicissitudes of fortune, and latterly experienced 
much distress." 

In nearly the same words is her death recorded 
under the same date in the Scot's Magazine, with 
the more specific notice that she died " in London." 
In the European Magazine, for 1788, her death is 
also mentioned. All the dates ngree. 

A portrait of her hangs in the Garrick Club, 
the most striking feature in the face being the 
eyes. We know not where she was buried, who 
attended, or who paid the expenses of the funeral. 

B 2 


Born 1758. Died 1800. 

LITTLE more than one liundred years ago, 
when Beau Brummell was yet a little boy, 
and the First Gentleman in Europe had not 
earned the distinction of beinj^ called his " fat 
friend," when the latter was colonel of the most 
famous regiment of fops that ever existed (the 
10th Hussars) ; before the wicked Lord Lyttelton 
had quarrelled with George Ayscough, or had 
broken off his engagement with Miss Warburton, 
"who was," according to him, "as cold as an 
anchorite ; formed to be the best wife in the world 
to a good husband, but by no means calculated to 
reform a bad one ;" about this time, the famous 
Lord Lyttelton and his friend, George Ayscough, 
sauntered one evening into the Pantheon Rotunda, 
to have a look at, and a chat with, the beauties and 
beaux usually to be found congregated there. 

Nominally, a concert was the excuse for the 
gathering together of this brilliant assemblage. 
The first women of fashion of the day were amongst 

PEBDITA." 246 

the audience — from the first Countess of Tyr- 
connell, with her pretty brogue, to the sleepy- 
eyed, lovely, and voluptuous -looking Lady Almeria 
Carpenter, and the magnificent Marchioness of 
Townshend. The gay young nobleman and his 
boon companion mingled with the brilliant throng, 
where doubtless Mary Warburton — who was at 
that time betrothed to the former — ^jealously 
watched the flirtations of her erratic and suscep- 
tible afiianced husband. To the same pretty face 
constant never, Lord Lyttelton was beginning to 
find the familiar society pall, when he suddenly 
gave a start, and graspmg his friend's arm, 
earnestly inquired — 

" Who is she ?" 

The object of his inquiry was a pretty young 
gii'l, in a plain round cap, over which was tied a 
white chip hat, and her dress was of pink trimmed 
with sable. The two gallants stared at her so 
persistently — in those days it was considered a 
compliment to a woman to stare her out of coun- 
tenance — that she became quite disconcerted; — she 
got used to these gallantries very soon, — and taking 
the arm of the gentleman who accompanied her, 
she walked away in the opposite direction. 

But Lord Lyttelton and George Ayscough had 
come, had seen, and had been conquered by the 
beauty and grace of the mysterious fair one. They 


pursued her and her companion round the circle 
where the company promenaded whilst listening 
to the music, now and again stopping their various 
friends and demanding of them who the stranger 
was. But although everybody wanted to know, 
yet nobody knew, until the Earl of Northington, 
looking critically at the young lady, said dubiously, 
" Ye-es ; I th{7ik I know her." And leaving his 
companions, advanced with a bow, saying — 

'' Miss Darby — or I am mistaken V 

The young lady has left it upon record, " that 
my manner and confusion plainly evinced that I 
was not accustomed to the gaze of impertinent 
high-breeding." We are willing to give her the 
benefit of any doubt we may privately cherish, 
and state upon her own authority that she replied 
that her name was now changed to Robinson, and 
" to prevent any awlcward embarrassment," she 
presented her husband, upon whose arm she was 

In such wise did the famous "Perdita" make 
her first appearance in London society. 

An Irishwoman — born in Bristol, in 1758, right 
in the shadow of Saint Mary Bedclyffe — Mary 
Darby was the daughter of a speculator, named Mac- 
Dermott, which name he subsequently changed to 
that of Darby. He went off on some visionary 
enterprise to North America, and came back in a 

"PEBDITA." 247 

few years without either money or credit. During 
his ahsence, his daughter Mary had been at a 
school kept by the sisters of the famous Hannah 
More ; and his wife, who had removed to London, 
had opened a school there, in order to try and 
support her other children. In this enterprise she 
was helped by her daughter Mary, now a girl of 
about fifteen. 

She was a very pretty and uitelligent girl, but 
gave early proof that the lessons of gravity and of 
female propriety, which we may be sure the Misses 
More endeavoured to implant in her youthful 
mind, had fallen upon stony ground. Did they 
ever know of it, it must have shocked the sense of 
decorum oftlicso good MpinHlors to loa,i-ii tliat tlioir 
quondam pupil actually flirted from the windows 
with a young man, who lodged in a house opposite 
to the one occupied by her mother in Southampton 

Mary Darby did more than flirt with this young 
man — she married him, and thus became Mrs. 
Robinson just at the time that her dancing-master 
had made her show off before the veteran Garrick, 
who was so pleased with her dancing and recita- 
tions that he was about to allow her to appear in 
a piece with him at Covent Garden. Mr. Robin- 
son seems to have won th6 consent of the pretty 
Mary's mother by flattering the good lady's httle 


foibles, and by sundry presents of books — they 
were gifts of value in those days — notably a copy 
of Hervey's Meditations. At first he insisted upon 
the marriage being kept secret, alleging as an 
excuse his fear of displeasing a rich uncle in Wales, 
from whom he had expectations. 

But at length the true story came out. The 
rich uncle was apocryphal — he was in reality a 
Mr. Harris, and the so-called Mr. Kobinson was his 
illegitimate son. He invited the bride and bride- 
groom on a visit to Wales, and they accejjted the 
invitation. In her quaintly-written " Confessions" 
— which she wrote in after years — Mrs. llobinson 
gives the following graphic account of the visit : — 

" Mr. Harris came out to receive me. I wore 
a dark claret-coloured riding-habit, with a white 
beaver hat and feathers. He embraced me with 
excessive cordiality, while Miss Ptobinson, my hus- 
band's sister, with cold formality led me into the 
house. I never shall forget her looks or her 
manner. Had her brother presented the most 
abject being to her, she could not have taken my 
hand with a more frigid demeanour. Miss Hobin- 
son, though not more than twenty years of age, 
was Gothic in her appearance, and stiff in her de- 
portment ; she was of low stature, and clumsy, 
with a countenance peculiarly formed for the ex- 
pression of sarcastic vulgarity — a short snub nose. 

"PEBDITA:' 249 

turned up at the point, a liead thrown back with 
an air of hauteur, a gaudy-coloured chmtz gown, a 
thrice- bordered cap, with a profusion of ribands, 
and a countenance somewhat more ruddy than was 
consistent with even pure health, presented the 
personage whom I was to know as my future com- 
panion and kinswoman. 

" Mr. Harris looked Hke a venerable Hawthorn ; 
a brown fustian coat, a scarlet waistcoat edged 
with narrow gold, a pair of woollen spatterdashes, 
and a gold-laced hat, formed the dress he generally 
wore. He always rode a small Welsh pony, and 
was seldom in the house, excepting at meal-time, 
from sunrise to the close of the evening. 

" There was yet anotlicr personage in the 
domestic estabHshment, who was by Mr. Harris 
regarded as of no small importance ; this was a 
venerable housekeej)er, of the name of Mary 
Edwards. Mrs. Molly was the female mentor of 
the family. She dined at the table with Mr. 
Harris, she was the governess of the domestic 
department, and a more overbearing, vindictive 
spirit never inhabited the heart of mortal than 
that which pervaded the soul of the ill-natured 
Mrs. Molly. 

" It may be easily conjectured that my time 
passed heavily in this uninteresting circle. I was 
condemned either to drink ale with ' the Squire,' 


for Mr. Harris was only spoken of by that title, or 
to visit the methodistical seminary which Lady 
Huntingdon had established at Trevecca, another 
mansion-house on the estate of Mr. Harris. 
Miss Robinson was of this sect, and though 
Mr. Harris was not a disciple of the Hunting- 
donian school, he was a constant church visitor on 
every Sunday. His zeal was indefatigable, and he 
would frequently fine the rustics (for he was a 
justice of the peace, and had been sheriff of the 
county) when he heard them swear, though every 
third sentence he uttered was attended by an 
oath that made his hearers shudder. 

" I soon became a considerable favourite with 
the Squire, but I did not find any yielding 
qualities about the hearts of Miss Betsy or 
Mrs. Molly. They observed me with jealous eyes ; 
they considered me an interloper, whose manner 
attracted Mr. Harris's esteem, and who was likely 
to diminish their divided influence in the family. 
I found them daily growing weary of my society ; 
I perceived their sidelong glances when T was 
com2:>limented by the visiting neighbours on my 
good looks, or taste in the choice of my dresses. 
Miss Robinson rode on horseback in a camlet 
safeguard, with a high-crowned bonnet. I wore 
a fashionable habit, and looked like something 
human. Envy at length assumed the form of 
insolence, and I was taunted perpetually on the 

" PEBDITA." 251 

folly of appearing like a woman of fortune, that a 
lawyer's wife had no right to dress like a duchess, 
and that, though I might be very accomplished, a 
good housewife had no occasion for harpsichords 
and books, they belonged to women who had 
brought wherewithal to support them. Such was 
the language of vulgar illiberal natures ! Yet for 
three weeks I endured it patiently. 

"Knowing that Mr. Harris was disposed to 
think favourably of me — that he even declared he 
should 'have liked me for his wife, had I not 
married Tom,' though he was then between sixty 
and seventy years of age — I thought it prudent to 
depart, lest through the machinations of Miss 
]]otsy and Mrs. Molly i should lose the share I 
jiad gjiined in his alfcctions. My mother was still 
at Bristol, and the morning of our departure being 
arrived, to my infinite astonishment Mr. Harris 
proposed accompanying us thither. It was in vain 
that Molly and Miss interfered to prevent him ; 
lie swore that he would see me safe across the 
Channel, whatever might be the consequence of 
his journey. We set out together. 

" After passing many days at Bristol, Mr. 
Harris returned to Wales, and our party set out 
for London. Mr. Ptobinson's mind was easy, and 
his hopes were confirmed by the kindness of his 
uncle ; he now considered himself as the most 
happy of mortals. We removed from Great Queen 


Street to a house, No. 13, in Hatton Garden, 
which had been recently built. Mr. Robinson 
furnished it with peculiar elegance. I frequently 
inquired into the extent of his finances, and he as 
often assured me that they were in every respect 
competent to his expenses. In addition to our 
domestic estabhshment, Mr. Robinson purchased a 
handsome phaeton, with saddle-horses for his own 
use. And I now made my debut, though scarcely 
emerged beyond the boundaries of childhood, in 
the broad hemisphere of fashionable folly." 

It is at this point in her history that Mary 
Robinson first met Lord Lyttelton and his friend 
George Ayscough at the Pantheon Rotunda. 
They followed up the introduction by calling upon 
her the next day. Lord Lyttelton — the most 
accomplished libertine of his time — ostensibly 
courted the husband instead of the wife, professing 
esteem and admiration for him, and an earnest 
desire to cultivate his acquaintance. The pictiu-e 
Mrs. Robinson gives of this nobleman is not by 
any means flattering. She says : — 

" Lord Lyttelton was uniformly my aversion. 
His manners were overbearingly insolent, his 
language licentious, and his person slovenly, even 
to a degree that was disgusting." 

Although, further on in her Memoirs, Mrs. 
Robinson tells us that she "abhorred, decidedly 

"PEBDITA." 263 

abhorred," Lord Lyttelton, yet she seems to have 
had no scruples about takmg 25i'esents from him. 
He wrote poetry to her, for which she says he had 
"considerable facility," and he also constituted 
himself her cavaliere servente at all places of amuse- 
ment. It is significant that she says very little 
about being ever introduced to any ladies, but 
records the names of the chief men of fashion of 
the day ; Count de Belgiose, the Imperial Ambas- 
sador, "one of the most accomplished foreigners 
I ever remember to have met ;" Lord Valentia, 
Cap tarn O 'Byrne, Mr. William Brereton of Drury 
Lane Theatre, Sir Francis Molyneux, Mr. Alder- 
man Sayer, George Bobert Fitzgerald, and many 

About tills time she begins to complain of the 
neglect of her husband ; and it must honestly be 
admitted that her position was a trying one. 
Young, beautiful, talented and, — it cannot be denied 
— intensely vain, and treated with indifference 
by ]»im who was her natural protector, slic was 
thrown into the constant companionship of the 
most licentious and fascinating men of the age. 
She says herself : — 

" Among the most dangerous of my husband's 
associates was George Bobert Fitzgerald.* His 

* The famous " Fighting Fitzgerald." 


manners towards women were interesting and 
attentive. He perceived the neglect with which 
I was treated by Mr. Kobinson, and the pernicious 
influence which Lord Lyttelton had acquired over 
his mind ; he professed to feel the warmest interest 
in my welfare, lamented the destiny which had 
befallen me, in being wedded to a man incapable 
of estimating my value, and at last confessed 
himself my most ardent and devoted admirer. 
I shuddered at the declaration, for amidst all the 
allurements of splendid folly my mind, the purity 
of my virtue, was still uncontaminatcd. 

" I repulsed the dangerous advances of this 
accomplished person ; but I did not the less feel 
the humiliation to which a husband's indifference 
had exposed me. God can bear witness to the 
purity of my soul, even surrounded by temptations 
and mortified by neglect. Whenever I ventured to 
inquii'e into pecuniary resources, Mr. Robinson 
silenced me by saying he was independent ; added 
to this assurance. Lord Lyttelton repeatedly pro- 
mised that, through his courtly interest, he would 
very shortly obtain for my husband some honour- 
able and lucrative situation. 

" I confess that I reposed but little confidence 
in the promises of such a man, though my husband 
believed them inviolable. Frequent parties were 
made at his Lordship's house in Hill Street, and 

"PEBDITA." 255 

many invitations pressed for a visit to his seat at 
Hagley. These I peremptorily refused, till the 
noble hy[Docrite became convmced of my aversion, 
and adopted a new mode of jiursuing his machina- 

" One forenoon Lord Lyttelton called in Hatton 
Garden, as was almost his daily custom ; and on 
finding that Mr. Kobinson was not at home, 
requested to speak with me on business of im- 
portance. I found him seemingly much distressed. 
He uifoimed me that he had a secret to commu- 
nicate of considerable moment both to my interest 
and happiness. I started : * Nothing, I trust in 
heaven, has befallen my husband !' said I, in a 
voice scarcely artlcidato. Lord Lyttelton hcsi tatcd. 
' How little does that husband deserve the solici- 
tude of such a wife !' said he ; ' but,' contmued 
his Lordship, * I fear that I have in some degree 
aided in alienating his conjugal affections. I could 
not bear to see such youth, such merit, so sacri- 
ficed.' ' Speak briefiy, my Lord,' said L 'Then,' 
replied Lord Lyttelton, ' I must inform you that 
your husband is the most false and undeserving of 
that name !' 

*" I do not beheve it I' said I, indignantly. 
* Then you shall be convinced,' answered his 
Lordship ; 'but remember, if you betray your true 
and zealous friend, I must fight your husband ; 


for he never will forgive my having discovered his 

" ' It cannot be true/ said I. ' You have been 

" ' Hear me,' said he. ' You cannot be a stranger 
to my motives for thus cultivating the friendship 
of your husband. My fortune is at your disposal. 
E-obinson is a ruined man ; his debts are consi- 
derable, and nothing but destruction can await 
you. Leave him ! Command my powers to serve 

*' I would hear no more ; my hours were all 
dedicated to sorrow, for I now heard that my 
husband, even at the period of his marriage, had 
an attachment which he had not broken, and that 
his infidelities were as public as the ruin of his 
finances was inevitable. I remonstrated — I was 
almost frantic. My distress was useless, my 
wishes to retrench our expenses were ineffectual. 
Lord Lyttelton now rested his only hope in the 
certainty of my husband's ruin. He therefore 
took every step and embraced every opportunity 
to involve him more deeply m calamity. Parties 
were made to Bichmond and SalthiU, to Ascot 
Heath and Epsom races, in all of which Mr. 
Kobinson bore his share of expense, with the 
addition of post-horses. Whenever he seemed to 
shrink from his augmenting indiscretion, Lord 

"PEBDITA." 257 

Lyttelton assured him that, through his interest, 
an appointment of honourable and pecuniary 
importance should be obtained ; though I em- 
braced every opportunity to assure his Lordship 
that no consideration upon earth should ever make 
me the victim of his artifice. 

" Mr. Fitzgerald still paid me unremitting 
attention. His manners towards women w.ere 
beautifully interesting. He frequently cautioned 
me against the libertine Lyttelton, and as fre- 
quently lamented the misguided confidence which 
Mr. Kobinson reposed in him. 

" About this time a party was one evening made 
to Yauxhall. Mr. Fitzgerald was the pei"Son who 
jiroposed it, and it consisted of six or eight persons. 
Tlie iiiglit was warm, and tlic gardens crowded ; 
we supped in the cii'cle which has the statue of 
Handel in its centre. The hour growing late, or 
rather early in the morning, our company dispersed, 
and no one remained excepting Mr. Robinson, Mr. 
Fitzgerald, and myself Suddenly a noise was 
heard near the orchestra ; a crowd had assembled, 
and two gentlemen were quarrelling furiously. 
Mr. E,. and Fitzgerald ran out of the box. I rose 
to follow them, but they were lost in the throng, 
and I thought it most prudent to resume my 
place, which I had just quitted, as the only certain 
way of theii' finding me in safety. In a moment 

VOL. I. s 


Fitzgerald returned ; ' Hobinson,' said he, ' is 
gone to seek you at the entrance-door ; he thought 
you had quitted the box.' * I did for a moment/ 
said I, * but I was fearful of losing him in the 
crowd, and therefore returned.' 

" ' Let me conduct you to the door ; wo shall 
certainly find him there,' replied Mr. Fitzgerald ; 
* I know that he will be uneasy.' I took his arm, 
and he ran hastily towards the entrance-door on 
the Vauxhall Eoad. 

" Mr. Ilobinson was not there : we proceeded to 
look for our carriage ; it stood at sonic distance. 
I was alarmed and bewildered. Mr. Fitzgerald 
hurried me along. * Don't be uneasy ; we shall 
certainly find him,' said he, 'fori left him here 
not five minutes ago.' As he spoke, he stopped 
abruptly, a servant opened a chaise-door ; there 
were four horses harnessed to it, and by the hght 
of the lamps on the side of the footpath I plainly 
perceived a pistol in the pocket' of the door, which 
was open. I drew back. Mr. Fitzgerald placed 
his arm round my waist, and endeavoured to lift 
me up the step of the chaise, the servant watching 
at a little distance. I resisted, and inquired what 
he meant by such conduct. His hand trembled 
excessively, while he said in a low voice, ' Robin- 
son can but fight me.' I was terrified beyond all 
description. I made him loose his hold, and ran 

"PEBDITA." 259 

towards the eiitrance-door. Mr. Fitzgerald now 
23erceived Mr. E-obinson. * Here he comes !' ex- 
claimed he, with easy nonchalance. 'We had 
found the wrong carriage, Mr. Robinson ; we have 
been looking after you, and Mrs. E^obinson is 
alarmed beyond expression.' 

" ' I am, indeed,' said I. Mr. Bobinson now took 
my hand, we stepped into the coach, and Mr. 
Fitzgerald followed " 

This happened shortly before her eldest child, her 
" darling Maria," was born ; and knowing George 
Robert Fitzgerald's propensity for duelling, she 
thought it better not to say anything to her 
husl)and about what had occurred, Tlie excuse of 
lijiving mistaken tlic cari-iagc seemed so })lausible 
that slio let tlio matter rest. But slie had liad a 
warning, and from that time forward tried to avoid 
Fitzgerald as much as possible. 

They seem to have been living m a state of 
recldess extravagance at this period. The truth 
was, Mr. Robinson became despenite. The large 
debts with which he was encumbered before his 
marriage laid the foundation of all his succeeding 
embarrassments, and he saw that no effort of 
economy or of professional labour could arrange 
his shattered finances. Now came scenes of trial 
and humlUation. Their property was seized, and 
they were reduced to the direst straits, during 

S 2 


which their noble friends studiously held aloof. 
Mrs. E-ohinson was sent to her husband's friends 
in the country, and there her child was born. 
But the quiet of a country life did not suit her, 
and she soon returned to London with her " sweet 
Maria," and a small volume of her own poems, 
which she intended publishing.* It is not stated 
that she ever carried out her intention of doing so. 
Indeed, it is very probable that she never did, and 
that the manuscript volume of her poems now in 
the British Museum is the one referred to. As it 
has neither date nor title-page, it is diificult to 
decide. Notwithstanding their recent difficulties, 
Mr. and Mrs. Robinson again soon plunged into 
all the dissipations of London. The Pantheon 
Botunda was revisited, and again she became the 
object of the attentions of the persevering Fitz- 
gerald and of the odious Lord Lyttelton. The 
latter had now been for some time past married to 
Mrs. Apphia Peach, and the hypocrisy of his 
character is very plainly shown in the way in 
which he pursued Mrs. Bobinson with his dis- 
honourable importunities, whilst at the same time 
he was writing letters full of beautiful moral 
sentiments to his father. 

* In tlie MS. room of the British Museum Library there is a 
MS. volume of Mrs. Robinson's poems, in her own handwriting. 
As literary productions they are utterly devoid of merit. The 
caligraphy is excellent, almost like copper-plate. 

' PEEDITA." 261 

Their affairs liad now reached such a crisis that 
Mr. Kobinson was once more arrested, and his wife 
took up her abode with him in the prison. There 
seemed to be no prospect of his being released, 
and, being reduced to the direst pecuniary distress, 
the idea of the stage again recurred to Mrs. 
Kobinson. Tlirough the instrumentality of some 
friends she was introduced to Sheridan, and gave 
a specimen of lier dramatic powers. In tlic green- 
room of Drury Lane Theatre slio repeated tlie 
principal scenes from. " Ilomeo and Juliet," in the 
presence of Garrick, Sheridan, and Brereton, the 
latter reciting the part of Romeo. The former was 
much pleased with her, and fixed upon the cha- 
racter of Juliet as tlio one m wliich she ^^^'^s to 
make her debut 

Garrick entertained very sanguine hopes of her 
success, and when the eventful night arrived sat 
in the orchestra to watch her. The fame of the 
new actress's beauty and talent attracted a 
crowded house, and the critics thronged tlie green- 
room. She was very nervous at first, and did not 
dare look at her audience during the whole of the 
first scene ; but was greeted with shouts of ap- 
plause, and as she gained more confidence the 
Enthusiasm of her audience mcreased. Mrs. Ro- 
binson was emphatically a success, but less from 
her talent as an actress than from her fascinations 


as a woman. " My," she says herself, " was 
a pale pink satin, trimmed with crape, richly 
spangled with silver ; my head was ornamented 
with white feathers, and my monumental suit for 
the last scene was white satin, and completely 
plain ; excepting that I wore a veil of the most 
transparent gauze, which fell quite to my feet from 
the back of my head, and a string of beads round 
my waist, to which was suspended a cross appro- 
priately fashioned." 

Sheridan was completely fascinated by the 
charming actress ; and slie seems to liavc taken 
more than a mere friendly mterest in him. " This 
distinguished being," as she repeatedly calls him 
in her Memoirs, was a frequent visitor at her house, 
and does not appear to have lost in her estimation 
by comparison with her husband. The latter was 
a gambler and a neglectful husband, and certainly 
left his beautiful wife too much to herself Her 
popularity increased, and her pecuniary prospects 
began to brighten so far as to justify her taking 
a house in the vicinity of Drury Lane. Here 
her husband, who had managed to effect his release 
from the debtors' prison, joined her ; and again, 
with their customary recklessness, they plunged 
into all the dissipations of a fashionable life. They 
had horses, phaetons, and ponies. Mrs. Hobinson 
set the fashion in dress ; her house was thronged 

"PEBDITA." 263 

with visitors, and her morning levees were crowded 
by all the rank and fashion of the day. Mr. Fox 
and the Earl of Derby were amongst her most 
devoted admirers ; but the only one for whom — at 
that time — she seemed to have any especial fancy, 
was Sheridan. "He saw me," she casuistically 
records in one of her letters, " ill-bestowed upon a 
man who neither loved nor valued me ; he lamented 
my destiny, but witli sucli delicate propriety, that 
it consoled, while it revealed to me the unhappiness 
of my situation." 

For two years had Mrs. Robinson now been on 
the stage, performing in both tragedy and comedy. 
Her domestic life was very miserable, owing to 
the neglect of lier husband and his unfortunate 
propensity for gambling. On several occasions 
tlieir goods and chattels were seized for his debts, 
and only rescued through the hberality and inter- 
vention of sundry of his wife's admirers. Mrs. 
Robinson had two children at this time — her 
" darling Maria," and another daughter named 
Sophia, two years younger. All through her 
curious life these daughters remained faithful to 

During the autumn of 1780, "The Winter's 
Tale" was performed at Drury Lane by command 
of their Majesties. It was the first time Mrs, 
Robinson had ever played before the Royal family. 


and the first character in which she was destined 
to appear was tliat of Perdita. It was not, how- 
ever, her first appearance in that part, as she had 
often before played it to the Ilermione of Mrs. 
Hartley and Miss Farren. When she entered the 
green-room, dressed for the first act, she looked so 
exceptionally radiant in her grace and beauty, 
that the assembled company rallied her good- 
humouredly upon being bent upon making a con- 
quest of the Prince of Wales. They little foresaw 
the variety of events that would arise from that, 
night's exhibition ! 

Throughout the play the Prince regarded her 
with fixed attention, and whenever her position 
on the boards brought her within hearing of what 
was said in the royal box, he made some flattering 
remarks. So gratifying were they to her vanity, 
that she became so embarrassed that she could 
scarcely proceed with the play. Every one in the 
theatre observed the Prince's particular attention. 
At the conclusion of the play he bowed to her in 
a very marked manner ; and she returned home 
to a supper party where the whole conversation 
centred in* encomiums on the person, graces, and 
amiable manners of the Heir Apparent. 

The most selfish and unprincipled of men, the 
Prince of Wales, aided and abetted by that most 
finished scoundrel, his friend Lord Maiden, was 

"PEIWITA." 265 

completely fascinated by the lovely actress, and 
deliberately set about trying to get her into his 
power. Weak-minded and inordinately vain, Mrs. 
Robinson was dazzled by the station, and beguiled 
by the protestations, of her royal lover. Without 
in any degree extenuating her follies, this much 
may be admitted — that she is entitled to some 
indulgence on the ground of the neglect of the 
husband who should have protected her, and the 
persevering arts that were used to ensnare her. 
How the first advances were made cannot be 
better told than in her own words. 

"Lord Maiden made me a morning visit; Mr. 
Ilobinson was not at home, and I received him 
rather awkwardly. But his Lordship's embarrass- 
ment far exceeded mine : he attempted to speak, 
paused, hesitated, a^Dologised. I knew not why. 
He hoped I would pardon him ; that I would not 
mention somethmg he had to communicate ; that 
I would consider the peculiar delicacy of his 
situation, and then act as I tliought proper. I 
could not comprehend his meaning, and therefore 
requested that he would be explicit. 

" After some moments of evident rumination, he 
tremblingly drew a small letter from his pocket. 
I took it, and knew not what to say. It was 
addressed to Perdita. I smiled, I believe, rather 
sarcastically, and opened the billet It contained 


a few words, bat those expressive of more than 
common civility ; they were signed, Floiuzel. 

" ' Well, my Lord, and what does this mean V 
said I, half angry. 

" ' Can you not guess the writer ?' said Lord 

" ' Perhaps yourself, my Lord V cried I, gravely. 

" ' Upon my honour, no/ said the Viscount. 'I 
should not have dared so to address you on so short 
an acquaintance.' 

"' I pressed him to tell me from whom the letter 
came. lie a<xain liesltated : lie seemed confused and 
sorry that he had undertaken to deliver it. ' I 
hope I shall not forfeit your good opinion,' said he, 
' but ' 

" * But what, my Lord ?' 

" ' I could not refuse, for the letter is from the 
Prince of Wales.' 

" I was astonished : I confess that I was 
agitated ; but I was also somewhat sceptical as to 
the truth of Lord Maiden's assertion. I returned 
a formal and a doubtful answer ; and his Lordship 
shortly after took his leave. 

" A thousand times did I read this short but 
expressive letter, still I did not implicitly beheve 
that it was written by the Prince : I rather con- 
sidered it as an experiment made by Lord Maiden 
either on my vanity or propriety of conduct. On 

" PEBDITA." 267 

the next evening tlie Viscount repeated liis visit : 
we had a card party of six or seven, and the 
Prince of Wales was again the subject of un- 
bounded panegyric. Lord Maiden spoke of his 
lloyal Highness 's manners, as the most polished 
and fascmating ; of his temper, as the most 
engaging ; and of his mind, the most replete with 
every amiable sentiment. I heard these praises, and 
my heart beat with conscious pride, while memory 
turned to the partial but delicately respectfid 
letter which I had received on the preceding 

" The next day Lord Maiden brought me a 
second letter. He assured me that the Prince 
was most unliappy lest I sliould bo oHendcd at his 
conduct ; and that he conjured me to go that 
night to the Oratorio, where he would by some 
signal convince me that he was the writer of the 
letters, supj^osmg I was still sceptical as to their 

" I went to the Oratorio ; and, on taking my seat 
in the balcony box, the Prince almost instan- 
taneously observed me. He held the printed bill 
before his face, and drew his hand across his fore- 
head ; still fixing his eyes on me. I was confused, 
and knew not what to do. My husband was with 
me, and I was fearful of his observing what passed. 
Still the Prince contmued to make signs, such as 


movinfT his hand on the edge of the box as if 
writing, then speaking to the Duke of York (then 
Bishop of Osnaburg), who also looked towards 
me with particular attention. 

" I now observed one of the gentlemen in wait- 
ing bring the Prince a glass of water ; before he 
raised it to his lips he looked at me. So marked 
was his Royal Highness's conduct that many of 
the audience observed it ; several persons in the 
pit directed their gaze at the place where I sat ; 
and, on the following day, one of the diurnal prints 
observed that there was one passage in Dryden's 
ode which seemed particularly interesting to the 
Prince of Wales, who — 

Gazed on tlie fair 
Who caused his care, 
And sigh'd, and look'd, and sigh'd again. 

" ITowcver flatterinf]^ it ini<^ht have been to 
female vanity to know that the most admired and 
most accomplished Prince in Europe was de- 
votedly attached to me ; however dangerous to 
the heart such idolatry as his E-oyal Highness 
during many months professed in almost daily 
letters, which were conveyed to me by Lord 
Maiden, still I declined any interview with his 
Koyal Highness. I was not insensible to all his 
powers of attraction. I thought him one of the 
most amiable of men. There was a beautiful 

" FEBDITA." 269 

ingenuousness in his language, a warm and enthu- 
siastic adoration expressed in every letter, which 
interested and charmed me. During the whole 
spring, till the theatre closed, this correspondence 
continued ; every day giving me some new assu- 
rance of inviolable affection. 

"After we had corresponded some months 
without ever speaking to each other (for I still 
declined meeting his lloyal Iliglincss, from a dread 
of the Mat which sucli a connexion would pro- 
duce, and the fear of injuring him in the opmion 
of his royal relatives), I received through the hands 
of Lord Maiden the Prince's portrait in miniature, 
painted by the late Mr. Meyer. This picture is 
now in my possession. Within the case was a 
small heart cut in paper, which I also have. On 
one side was written, ' Je ne change qiien mourant.^ 
On the other, ' Unalterable to my Perdita through 

"During many months of confidential corre- 
spondence, I always offered his lloyal Highness the 
best advice in my power, and disclaimed every 
sordid and interested tliought. At every hiterview 
with Lord Maiden, I perceived that he regretted 
the task he had undertaken ; l)ut he assured me 
that the" Prince was almost frantic whenever he 
suggested a wish to decline interfering. Once I 
remember his Lordship's teUing me that the late 


Duke of Cumberland had made him a visit, early 
in the morning, at his house in Clarges Street, 
informing him that the Prince was most wretched 
on my account, and imploring him to continue his 
services only a short time longer. The Prince's 
establishment was then in agitation : at this period 
his Royal Highness still resided in Buckingham 

" A proposal was now made that I should meet 
his Poyal Highness at his apartments, in the dis- 
guise of male attire. I was accustomed to perform in 
that dress, and the Prince had seen me (I believe) 
in the character of the ' Irish Widow.' To this 
plan I decidedly objected. The indelicacy of such 
a step, as well as the danger of detection, made 
me shrink from the proposal. My refusal threw 
his Poyal Highness into the most distressing 
agitation, as was ex|)rcssed by tlie letter wliicli T 
received on the following morning. Lord Malrlen 
again lamented that he had engaged himself in the 
intercourse, and declared that he had himself con- 
ceived so violent a passion for me that he was the 
most miserable and unfortunate of mortals. 

" During this period, though Mr. Robinson was 
a stranger to my epistolary intercourse with the 
Prince, his conduct was entirely neglectful. He 
was perfectly careless respecting my fame and my 
repose. His indifference naturally produced an 

"PEBDITA." 271 

alienation of esteem on my side, and the increasing 
adoration of the most enchanting of mortals hourly 
reconciled my mind to the idea of a separation. The 
unl)Ounded assurances of lasting affection which 
I received from his Koyal Highness in many scores 
of the most eloquent letters, the contempt which I 
experienced from my hushand, and the perpetual 
labour which I underwent for his support, at length 
began to weary my fortitude. Still I was reluc- 
tant to become the theme of public animadversion, 
and still I remonstrated with my husband on the 
unkindness of his conduct." 

Contemporary records verify the truth, in the 
main, of these very candid, confessions of Mrs. 
liobinsou. Sho cmj)liatically assorts that licr 
husband knew notln'ng about her intercourse witli 
the Prince. This seems strange, as the newspapers 
of the dav freely ventilated the affair, and spoke 
openly of the loves of Florizel and Perdita, She 
obviously looked upon her pertinacious admirer as 
something more than mortal, and at length, yield- 
ing to his solicitations, consented to have an inter- 
view. Being of a sentimental and romantic nature, 
it was contrived to give a sort of melodramatic 
turn to the whole affair, and moonlight mufflmgs, 
and other incidents of secrecy, were pressed into 
the service. 

The first mterview took place by moonlight in 


the avenue of old Kew Palace, in the presence of 
Lord Maiden and the Duke of York. It lasted 
but for a moment, but was quite long enough to 
awaken in her mind the most enthusiastic admira- 
tion. "The rank of the Prince," she says, "no 
longer chilled into awe that being who now con- 
sidered him as the lover and the friend. The 
graces of his 'person, the irresistible sweetness of his 
smile, the tenderness of his melodious yet manly 
voice, will he remembered by me till every vision of 
this changing scene shall be forgotten." 

Many and frequent were tlio interviews whicli 
afterwards took place at this romantic spot. The 
walks sometimes continued till past midnight, the 
Duke of York and Lord Maiden always being of 
the party. The halo of romance and secrecy 
which surrounded these meetings contributed in 
no slicfht dejxree to enchain the weak-minded 
woman, who finally relinquished her profession in 
order that she might have the more time to bestow 
upon her royal lover, who was now upon the point 
of receiving his first establishment. Mrs. Robinson 
spent the intervening time in a state of visionary 
happiness, for she looked forward, — upon what 
grounds Heaven only knows ! — to the settlement of 
the Prince's establishment as the precursor of the 
public acknowledgment of the aifectionate rela- 
tions between them. His Royal Highness lost no 

'FEBDITA:' 273 

opportunity of publicly avowing his partiality for 
Mrs. Robinson. At all places of public entertain- 
ment, at the King's hunt, at the reviews, and at 
the theatres, he distinguished her with the most 
marked attention. It was an unwise proceeding 
just at the time when he was receiving his first 
establishment, and the public prints were not slow 
to take cognisance of what was going on. 

Upon the last night of her appearance upon the 
stage, she represented the character of Sir Harry 
Bevel, m " The Miniature Picture," and also played 
in the farce of '* The Irish Widow." She did not 
quit her profession without some regret, and was 
so overcome that slie could scarcely perform witli 
any decent show of equanimity. Grand things 
had been expected of her in her profession, iuid 
the play-loving public resented her relinquishing 
the stage, especially when it soon became well 
known why she did so. The newspapers freely 
indulged in the most scandalous paragraphs 
respecting the Prince of Wales and her. A pam- 
phlet, which was speedily suppressed, and of which 
there is a copy at present in the British Museum, 
was now circulated, commenting in no very com- 
plimcnta.ry terms upon both. The unfortunate lady 
comes in for the largest share of contemptuous sar- 
casm, for at this period she had left home, husband, 
and childi'en at the soHcitations of the future 

VOL. I. T 


First Gentleman in Europe. Heedless of the con- 
sequences, she had given up ever3rthing for him. 
Her equivocal position rendering her an object of 
public notoriety, she was frequently obliged to 
quit Ranelagh, owing to the crowd which staring 
curiosity attracted to her box. 

But the Prince soon began to tire of his toy. 
Mrs. Kobinson was too much dazzled by the rank 
of her royal lover, and by his fascinating manners, 
to detect the hollowness and faithlessness of his 
nature. Moreover, she was in ignorance that his 
affaires de coour woi-o almost invariably con- 
ducted after the same fashion. His advances 
were always gradual and impassioned — his deser- 
tions, abrupt and unexpected. The time was now 
at hand when the deceived woman was to be 
rudely awakened from the dreams in which she 
had been indulging. 

One day, shortly before the Prince took posses- 
sion of his new establishment, Mrs. Pobinson 
received a letter from him fall of expressions of 
the most passionate attachment, and hinting that 
she would soon enjoy his public protection. Two 
days afterwards, what was her consternation to 
receive another missive from her lover — a cold and 
unkind letter, briefly informing her that they 
" must meet no more r 

Unable to account for this change in his con- 

"FEBDITA." 275 

duct, Mrs. Robinson wrote at once to the Prince, 
demanding an explanation. She received no reply. 
Again she wrote, but without receiving any elu- 
cidation of tlie mystery. The Prince was at this 
tune staying at Windsor, whither Mrs. Pobinson 
drove in her pony phaeton, accompanied only by 
her boy-postillion. She performed the journey at 
the risk of her life, for she was attacked by a 
footpad on Hounslow Heath, and owed her safety 
to the fleetness of her ponies. 

On her arrival, the Prince refused to see her ; 
and Lord Maiden and the Duke of Dorset assured 
her they could not account for this sudden change 
in liis Royal Highncss's sentiments. He pei'sis- 
teutly refused to see her, and she returned to 
town utterly bewildered and moi'tificd. 

Her "good-natured friends" now carefully in- 
formed her of the multitude of secret enemies who 
were ever employed in estrangmg the Prince's 
mind from her. So fascmatmg, so illustrious a 
lover, could not fail to excite the envy of her 
sex. Women of all descriptions were emulous of 
attractmg his Royal Highness's attention. Alas ! 
she had neither rank nor power to oppose such 
adversaries. Every engine of female malice was 
set in motion to destroy her repose, and every 
petty calumny was repeated with tenfold embellish- 
ments. Tales of the most infamous and glaring 

T 2 


falsehood were invented ; and she was again assailed 
by pamphlets, by paragraphs, by caricatures, and 
all the artillery of slander, while the only being to 
whom she then looked up for protection was so 
situated as to be unable to afford it. **In the 
anguish of my soul, I once more addressed the 
Prince of Wales. I complained, perhaps too vehe- 
mently, of his injustice, and of the calumnies which 
had been by my enemies fabricated against me, of 
the falsehood of which he was but too sensible. 
I conjured him to render me justice. He did so : 
he wrote mo a most eloquent letter, disclainring 
the causes alleged by a calumniating world, and 
fully acquitting me of the charges which had been 
propagated to destroy me/' 

Her situation was at this period most distressing. 
She resided in an expensive house in Cork Street, 
Burlington Gardens, and was so deeply involved 
in debt that she literally did not know what to do. 
At first she thought of returning to the stage, but 
some friends whom she consulted advised her not 
to do so, as they feared the public would not 
tolerate her. She was obliged to give up the 
idea, although she was almost without the means 
of subsistence, and her debts amounted to seven 
thousand pounds. Lord Maiden — who now became 
very assiduous in his attentions — was too poor to 
be able to render her any pecuniary assistance ; 

"PEBDITA." 277 

her family refused to have anything to say to her ; 
therefore, when the Prince wrote saying he wished 
to renew their former friendship and affection, it 
can scarcely be wondered at that she consented to 


have an interview with him. The meeting took 
place at Lord Maiden's house in Clarges Street. 
The Prince accosted her with every appearance of 
tender attachment — declaring that he had never 
for one moment ceased to love her, and that 
his coldness had been the effect of some stories 
repeated to him by her enemies. Some hours 
passed, and they parted on affectionate terms, 
Mrs. Bobinson fondly flattering herself that all 
differences were adjusted. What was her surprise 
and cbngrin when, on meeting the Prince the very 
next day in Hyde Park, he turned his head to 
avoid seeing her, and even affected not to know 
her ! 

Mrs. Pobinson was overwhelmed by this addi- 
tional cruelty. She did not then know the secret 
springs wlilcli were at work. The truth was, that 
the " estabhshment" of which she had dreamed, 
was only given to the Prmce on condition that he 
gave up Mrs. Bobinson. It was a cheap tribute 
to public decorum for him to do so, as he had 
ceased to care for her. With his customary mean- 
ness, he tried to get rid of her as cheaply as 
possible, and no answers were returned to her 


numerous letters. The Prince had given her a 
bond for twenty thousand pounds, payable on his 
" establishment," and this was used as an in- 
strument of negotiation. After much discreditable 
conduct upon both sides, the matter gained such 
publicity that it Wiis felt tliat some sottlcinont 
could not decently be refused. Mr. Fox under- 
took the office of arbitrator, and the bond was 
given up in consideration of an annuity of five 
hundred a year. 

A prosaic ending to the loves of Florizel and 
Pordita 1 Unquestionably weak-minded and 
foolish, her conduct is to be severely censured; 
at the same time, it cannot be denied but that she 
was very harshly treated. Her story excited 
some sympathy, and in her altered circumstances 
she formed some reputable friendships. She now 
posed as a heroine, and poured forth her sorrows 
in feeble verses, which appeared in various news- 
papers. In the winter of 1790 it was announced 
that " Mrs. Pobinson had entered into a poetical 
correspondence with Mr. Pobert Merry, under the 
fictitious names of * Laura' and ' Laura Maria ;' 
Mr. Merry assuming the title of ' Delia Crusca ;' " 
and asserted that future poets and ages would 

To pour in Laura's praise, their melodies divine. 

One of these poems was called "Ainsi va le 

"PEBDITA." 279 

Monde." It contained three hundred and fifty 
luies, yet — it is stated — it was written in twelve 
hours. All her poetry is vapid and weakly senti- 

" The fair Platonist," as the newspapers of tlie 
day styled her, now formed an acquaintance with 
a Colonel Tarleton, in whose company she went 
abroad. During the journey she fell ill, and 
entirely lost the use of lier limbs, and this at the 
age of twenty-four. She became an incurable 
cripple, and resigned herself to circumstances. Her 
time was cliiefly passed in the composition of those 
vapid poems before alluded to. Pecuniary troubles 
also pressed heavily upon her. She found con- 
siderable dinicidty is getting her annuity paid; 
and at length wrote to a " jioble debtor," to entreat 
a return of sums lent to him years before in her 
prosperity. The following copy of the letter was 
found amongst Mrs. E-obinson's papers after her 
decease : — 

" April 23r(l, 1800. 

" My Lord, — Pronounced by my physicians to 
be in a ra^jid decUne, I trust that your Lordship 
will have the goodness to assist me with a part of 
the sum for which you are indebted to me. With- 
out your aid I cannot make trial of the Bristol 
waters, the only remedy that presents to me any 
hope of preserving my existence. I should be 


sorry to die at enmity with any person ; and you 
may be assured, my dear Lord, that I bear none 
towards you. It would be useless to ask you 
to call on me; but, if you would do me that 
honour, I ehoiild be happy, very haj>j)y, to see you, 

" My dear Lord, yours truly, 

" Mary Eobinson." 

This letter was never answered ! Eveiy cir- 
cumstance points to Lord Maiden having been 
the one to whom it was addressed. 

" She was. unquestionably very beautiful," says 
Miss Hawkins, " but more so in the face than in 
the figure ; and as she proceeded m her course she 
acquired a remarkable facihty in adapting her 
deportment to her dress. When she was to be 
seen daily in St. James's Street or Pall Mall, even in 
her chariot, the variation was striking. To-day she 
was a paysanne, with her straw hat tied at tlie back 
of her head, looking as if too new to what she passed 
to know what she looked at. Yesterday, perhaps, she 
had been the dressed belle of Hyde Park, trimmed, 
powdered, patched, painted to the utmost power 
of rouge and white lead ; to-morrow she woidd 
be the cravated Amazon of the riding-house ; but 
be she what she might, the hats of the fashionable 
promenaders swept the ground as she passed.- 

" FEBDITA:' 281 

But in her outset, ' the style' was a high phafeton, 
in which she was driven by the favoured of the 
day. Three candidates and her husband were 
outriders, and this in the face of the congregations 

tiu'ning out of places of worship About 

the year 1778 she appeared on the stage, and 
gained, from the character in which she charmed, 
the name of Perdita. She then started in one of 
the new streets of Marylebone, and was in her 
altitude. Afterwards, when a little in the wane, 
she resided under protection in Berkeley Square, 
and appeared to guests as mistress of the house as 
well as of its master. Her manners and conversa- 
tion were said by those invited to want refinement. 
1 saw her one day handed to her extra- 
vagant vis-d-vis by a man whom she pursued with 
a doting passion ; all was still externally brilliant ; 
she was fine and fashionable, and the men of the 
day in Bond Street still pirouetted as her carriage 
passed them. The next day the vehicle was re- 
claimed by the maker ; the Adonis whom she 
courted fled her : she followed, all to no purpose. 
She then took up a new life in London, became 

literary What was the next glimpse ? On 

a table in one of the waiting-rooms of the Opera 
House was seated a woman of fashionable appear- 
ance, ^till beautiful, but not in the bloom of 
beauty's pride ; she was not noticed except by the 


eye of pity. In a few minutes two liveried ser- 
vants came to lier, and they took from their 
pockets long white sleeves, which they drew on 
their arms ; they then lifted her up and conveyed 
her to her carriage; it was the then helpless, para- 
lytic Perdita/"^^ 

In the autumn of 1800 Mrs. Hobinson's health 
became very much worse. She suffered chiefly 
from an accumulation of water upon her chest. 
Her daughters were unceasing in their efforts to 
alleviate her sufferings ; but all was of no avail. 
On the 21st of December she inquired how 
near was Christmas Day. Upon being told, she 
replied, " I shall never live to see it." During the 
whole of the next day her sufferings were excru- 
ciating, and towards the evening she sank into a 
kind of lethargic slumber. Her favourite daughter, 
Mary, approached the bedside, and earnestly con- 
jured her mother to speak if it were in her power. 
** My darling Mary /" she ejaculated, faintly, and 
spoke no more. She then became unconsciovis, 
and breathed her last about the noon of the 
following day. She was in her forty-third year, 
twenty-seven of which she had been more or less 
before the public. Thus ended the career of the 

Vide P. Fitzgerald's " Komance of the Stage.' 

"PEBDITA." 283 

lovely Perdita — the last of the famous jDiipils of 
the famous Garrick. 

Mrs. Bobinson died at Englefield Green, where 
for long after it was the fashion for Londoners to 
drive out and visit her shrine. She was buried in 
Old Windsor churchyard. 


Born, a.d. 1711. Died, a.d. 1785. 

N the year 1G90 — when the ill-fated 
James II. was obliged to fly to France 
after the decisive battle of the Boyne — 
a young Iriwli gcntlcnian from Kilkenny atLachod 
himself to the fortunes of the fallen kino;. He 
was a young lawyer named William Haftor, a 
descendant of an old and honourable Irish family, 
many members of which, during the disastrous 
period which preceded the Kevolution and the 
accession of William III., had taken an active part 
in the political affairs of Ireland. 

Upon the accession of the Prince of Orange the 
Haftor estates in the County of Kilkenny were 
confiscated to the Crown, thus leaving their right- 
ful owner penniless. He entered the service of 
Louis XIV., where he showed such ability that he 
was soon promoted. After some time he obtained 
a pardon, and, returning to London, married a 
Mrs. Daniel, the daughter of a wealthy citizen 
living on Fish Street Hill. Such were the parents 


of " that bundle of combustibles," bewitching Kitty 

She was born in the year 1711, and her early 
youth was passed in the old city mansion on Fish 
Street Hill. Her father— a genial, dashing Irish- 
man, capable of telhng a good story, and able to 
give a good dinner — was a man of much cultiva- 
tion, and affected the society of Hterary people. 
Amongst those who frequented his house was 
Theophilus Gibber— son of the laureate— who 
afterwards married Miss Jolinson, the intimate 
friend of Kitty Raftor. He heard Kitty sing and 
recite one day, and was so struck with her talents 
that he immediately introduced her to his father. 
Tlio cyni(;;il Colloy Gibber was charmed with this 
bright-looking girl of sixteen, and immediately 
eno-ao-ed her, at a salary of twenty shillings a 
week, to play subordmate parts at Drury Lane 


It does not appear that her family made any 
resistance to her going upon the stage, and adopt- 
ing it as a profession. She had a brother who 
followed her example, but he never made any 
reputation as an actor, and is now only remem- 
bered as the steward who managed the business 
aflairs of his more famous sister. Kitty Glive 
made her first appearance upon the stage at Drury 
Lane in the autumn of 1728. The play was 


" Mitliridates, King of Pontiis," and the young 
actress made her dSbut in the character of Ismenes, 
page to Ziphares. Some songs were introduced 
solely upon lier account, and were received with 
extraordinary applause. During this season she 
continually sang between the acts — as was then 
customary, a fashion which has been replaced by 
the orchestra of more modern times — or acted in 
subordinate parts, where songs were frequently 
interposed for the purpose of showing off her 
piquant style of singing. She speedily became a 
public favourite, but does not seem to liave, all at 
once, obtained the marvellous popularity so sud- 
denly achieved by many of the actresses of her 
time. Nevertheless, that her acting had made no 
little impression upon the public may be gathered 
from the fact, that when Colley Gibber's pastoral 
drama of " Love in a Iliddle" was acted at Drury 
Lane, it was Kitty Olive's singing and sprightliness 
which carried it through. The audience, who had 
lately been wearied by several of the laureate's 
vapid compositions, had caballed beforehand to 
damn the play. They openly expressed their disap- 
proval of it, until the charming Kitty appeared, 
when some one in a stage-box, addressing the 
unruly pit, exclaimed in a voice of dismay — 
" Zounds ! take care, or this charming little devil 
will spoil all !" She did spoil all their preconcerted 


schemes, for she turned the tide in favour of the 

In the year 1732, when she was just twenty- 
one, she married Mr. George CHve, the son of 
Baron Olive, a celebrated lawyer of the day. The 
marriage proved to be a very unsuitable one ; Mr. 
Clive was learned, grave, reserved, and objected 
to his wife continuing upon the stage. She refused 
to give up her j^i'ofession, the result being much 
discontent, mutual recrhninations, and finally — 
after tliis state of affairs had lasted for a couple of 
years — a separation was effected with mutual con- 
sent. Her husband here drops out of Mrs. Olive's 

Tlio ])ublic history of an. actress's career must 
necessarily be, to some extent, a history of play- 
bills. For the next few years we find Mrs. Olive 
playing such parts as Nell, in " The Devil to Pay ;" 
Narcissa, in " Love's Last Shift ;" Miss Hoyden, in 
" The Relapse ;" and occasionally some subordinate 
Shakspearian j^^rts. Horace Walpole says that 
she first made her reputation as an actress as Nell, 
in " The Devil to Pay." The latter was the most 
successful of Oolley Oibber's ballad operas, and 
was written especially for Mrs. Olive. Li one of 
his letters. Dr. Burney says that Kitty Olive's 
singing was intolerable when she meant to be fine, 
but that in ballad farces and songs of humour it 


was, like her comic acting, everything it should 
be. Oliver Goldsmith, who was bom the same 
year as Mrs. Clive, and who, at the time when 
the latter made her first success as Nell, was 
wandering with his flute all over Europe, said, 
when he saw her some years later: **Mrs. Clive! 
but what need I talk of her, since, without exagge- 
ration, she lias more true humour than any actor 
or actress upon the English or any other stage I 
have seen." And Oliver Goldsmith was no mean 
judge of humour. She was a " bundle of combus- 
tibles," clever, witty, wayward, sensible, and sar- 
castic. One of her contemporaries* says she was 
very vulgar, but yet " of genuine worth — indeed, 
INDEED ! she was a diamond of the first water !" 

During the season of 1741-42, Mrs. Clive played 
in the Aungier Street Theatre, in Dublin. It was 
here that the bitter rivalry, which lasted during 
their lives, commenced between Mrs. Clive and 
Mrs. Woffington. The latter and Garrick were 
delighting Dublin's play-loving population at the 
Smock Alley Theatre ; whilst Mrs. Clive, Quin, 
and Kyan tried to bear off the palm at Aungier 
Street. On one night Mrs. Woffington was 
announced for her celebrated character of Lady 
Townly, and Mrs. Chve foolishly played the same 

* Tate WilMnson. 


character upon the same night. It was an un- 
wise thing to have done, for Mrs. Woffington was 
too weU established a DubHn favourite for the 
playgoers not to give her the preference. Mrs. 
Chve's rendering of the part was a failure, but she 
made ample amends for it the next night by the 
way in which she played Nell, in "The Devil to 
Pay. " During her engagement at Aungier Street, 
she played also in ** The Virgin Unmasked," " The 
Country Wife," and as Euphrosyne, in " Comus," 
then acted in DubHn for the first time. 

Beyond these theatrical details of her visit to 
Dublin, there is no further record of her life there. 
We know not whether she socially met Peg Woff- 
Liigton and Garrick. The latter was very mucli 
afraid of Kitty's sharp tongue ; there was nothing 
in the world he dreaded so much as an altercation 
with her, and he always made it a drawn battle. 
He was very much in love with Peg Woffington 
at this time, so that it is more than prol^able lie 
did not jiay much attention to Kitty. The latter 
and Pyan returned to London at the close of the 
season, leaving Garrick and Woffington in Dublin. 

In the autumn of 1743 we hear of her again at 
Drury Lane, where she essayed Lady Townly, 
notwithstanding her failure in Dublin. The 
absence of Mrs. Woffington, and possibly a less 
critical London audience, enabled her to get 

VOL. I. u 


tliroiigli the piece with some show of success. 
Towards the close of the season she had a row 
with the manager, which resulted in her publish- 
ing her " Complaint." It was a very one-sided 
statement, but as she was a public favourite, and 
had the town on her side, she got the best of it. 

She had now been for some years living at 
Little Strawberry Hill — or Clieveden, as it was 
sometimes called — at Twickenham, given to her 
by Horace Walpole for her \ise during her life ; 
and what a brilliant assemblage did not the hvely 
actress draw lu-ound her in those 

Teacup times of hood and lioop, 
And when the patch was worn ! 

All the wits and beaux and fine ladies of the day 
visited her. Horace Walpole and his nieces and 
Lady Waldegrave were her constant guests, and 
before " The Castle of Otranto" was sent to the 
printers, it was read aloud at one of Kitty Chve's 
supper parties. 

Those supper parties ! How lingeringly and 
quaintly Horace Walpole dwells upon them and 
descants upon them. " Am just come from supping 
at Mrs. Clive's," is no infrequent entiy in his 
voluminous letters. How he and Kitty fought ; 
how she won an apparent victory by means of 
blustering, and how he invariably gained the day 
by liis diplomacy, are amongst the most amusing 


incidents he records. " You never saw anything 
so droll," he writes, "as Mrs. Olive's countenance, 
between the heat of the weather, the pride in her 
legacy, and the effort to appear unconcerned."* 

Fierce rivalry now raged between Mrs. Olive 
and Mrs. Woffington. They were at this time (1745, 
'46, '47, '48) both acting at Drury Lane, Garrick 
and Quin being the managers. Garrick is said to 
have hated her, although years afterwards, Avhen 
she had left the stag^e, she accused him of "a 
sneaking fondness" for her. It is more than 
possible that although she often did battle against 
him, that there was no real animosity at the 
bottom of her sharp speeches. She was careless 
as to \vl).M,t hIio Raid ; Gai'i'Ick wmh HoiiKilivo to 
every thing th.'it was said coiiceruing liim. In later 
years she bore noble testimony to his disinterested 
desire to advance the theatrical profession, and 
bore ample testimony to his upright conduct. 

The MS. playbiUs of Drury Lane show her as 
playing every season at that theatre from the year 
1750 to 1769. It was the only London theatre 
at which she was ever regularly engaged, and for 
forty-one years, save one visit to DubUn, she con- 
tinued to act there, and to be one of the chief 

* She had been left a small legacy of 50L Vide Walpole's Letters, 
vol. iii. p. 92. 



attractions of Drury Lane. This is no slight 
argument in favour of her popularity. Kitty 
Clive has the honour of having played the chief 
character in the first French piece that ever was 
adapted for the English stage. It was called " La 
Parisienne," and the pait played by Kitty was 
that of a smart-tongued waiting-maid. In a farce 
which she produced in 1750, for her own benefit, 
she scored an unqualified success. It was called 
" The Rehearsal, or Bays in Petticoats," and long 
continued to hold the stage. 

" The Winter's Tale," with Garrick as Leontes, 
was produced several times during the season of 
1755-5G, Mrs. Clive playing the cliief female part. 
Woodward — an excellent actor — was also in the 
cast. Between him and Mrs. Clive considerable 
animosity was well known to exist, a circumstance 
which gave life and interest to the piece. It was 
said that the actor threw her down with a violence 
more real than was warranted by the situation. 
Tlie fierce and real resentment of the actress at this 
treatment, and her rage, which she could liardly 
control, all fell in excellently with the tone of the 
piece, and delighted the audience. 

The following year witnessed the retirement of 
Mrs. Woffington, and Mrs. Clive had now the 
province of Comedy all to herself Neither Miss 
Pope nor Miss Eliza Farren — ^both Irishwomen 


also — had then won the laurels which they after- 
wards wore so grandly and gracefully. Garrick, 
too, had saved plenty of money, and now lived in 
comparative retirement at Hampton. Still " His 
Majesty's servant," yet he took the world much 
easier. He contented himself with playing well- 
known parts, seldom essaying a new character. At 
this period the Chelsea and Bow china manufac- 
tories were in a most flourishing condition, and 
Garrick, who had a nice taste in " curios," filled 
his house with the cliina which was then the rage. 
These manufactories issued a series of pure white 
chma statuettes, and many of these figures found 
their best originals upon the stage. Garrick as 
Richard ILL, Woodward hi "The Fhio Gentle- 
man," and Kitty Clive as The Lady in " Lethe," 
were favourite figures. Even now they fetch 
enormous prices at sales. At Mr. Henry G. 
Bohn's famous sale of old English pottery and 
porcelain,* Kitty Chve and Woodward in Chelsea 
ware sold for the enormous sum of 43/., whilst a 
white Bow figure of Kitty Clive alone fetched 31/. 
Peg Wolfing ton and Kitty Clive were some tunes 
sold together as companion figures. Two statuettes 
in Bristol ware, supposed to be their portraits, 
represent them as sphinxes. It is just possible 

Monday, Marcli 15th, 1875, and three following days. 


they may be portraits : but, on the other hand, it 
is just as likely that they are not, for it is scarcely 
probable that the strict Quaker china manufac- 
turers of Bristol would take as their models two 
fascinating actresses. 

For the next few years wo find Mrs. Clive 
chiefly performing in stock dramas, with seldom a 
new play or a new character. In 1760 she 
produced a farce, called " Every Woman in her 
Humour," but it was not very successful. " A 
Sketch of a Fine Lady's Rout," pi-oduced in 17G3, 
was more fortunate, for we find it ficqucntly 
announced in the bills of Drury Lane. Concerning 
her public career there is little more to be gleaned. 
She acted every season until her retii-ement, spoke 
the epilogues — often written for her by Horace 
Walpole — frequently, and was the faithful servant 
of the public until her retirement in 1769. 

She performed for the last time upon the night of 
April 24th, 1769, and took a benefit upon that oc- 
casion, when the plays selected were " The Wonder" 
and "Lethe. " Mrs. Clive was then in her fifty-ninth 
year, and for forty-one years had been the delight of 
the play-loving population, and the chief exponent of 
female comedy characters at Drury Lane. " I am so 
sorry to lose you, Kitty," said Garrick, with feigned 
regret, upon the night of her retirement. " You 
lie, Davie ! you lie 1" she retorted ; " and you 


know you do ! You would light up for joy, only 
the candles would cost you sixpence." The latter 
in allusion to Garrick's well-known parsimony. 

Kitty Chve was the best soubrette that ever 
ti'od the British stage. She had an inexliaustible 
fund of spirits, vivacity, and variety ; and was 
invaluable m any piece that had to be carried 
through with much bustle and quick repartee. 
Slie left the stage just in time ; whilst she was 
still "drawing," and stiU delighting the public. 
Over her audiences she reigned suj^remely ; they 
smiled with her, sneered with her, giggled with 
her, and laughed aloud with her. She was the 
true Comic Genius, — and they recognised it. 

In 17G0 or 17G1, Charles Churcliill published 
his famous " Eosciad." In it the professional cha- 
racters of Drury Lane and Co vent Garden theatres 
were examined with an acuteness of criticism, an 
easy flow of humour and sarcasm, which rendered 
what he probably considered as a temporary trifle 
a publication of uncommon popularity, and a 
valuable contribution to the history of the stage. 
He had, however, so little encouragement in bring- 
ing this poem forward that five guineas were 
refused as the price he valued it at. Accordingly, 
he printed it at his own risk, when he had 
scarcely money enough to pay for the necessary 
advertisements. The "Rosciad" was an enor- 


mous success, and in it he thus alludes to Kitty 
CUve :— 

Just to their worth, we female rights admit. 

Nor bar their claim to empire or to wit ; 

First, giggling, plotting chambermaids arrive. 

Hoydens and romps, led on by Gen'ral Clive. 

In spite of outward blemishes she shone, 

For humour famed, and humour all her own. 

Easy, as if at home, the stage she trod, 

Nor sought the critic's praise, nor feared his rod. 

Original in spirit and in ease, 

She pleased, by hiding all attempts to please. . 

No comic actress ever yet could raise 

On Humour's base, more credit or more praise. 

Kitty Clive was an inveterate gambler, and her 
card-parties — where, to use Walpole's phrase, she 
"made miraculous draughts of fishes" — at Little 
Strawberry Hill were famous. With "Bonny Dame 
Cadwallader," as she was familiarly called, hved her 
brother, William Raftor, who had failed as an actor, 
chiefly from his ugliness and awkward demeanour. 
He was a man of much information, possessing an 
enormous fund of original humour. In the talent 
of telling a humorous love-story he was unequalled, 
and seems to have been a general favourite with the 
brilliant circle surrounding his no less brilliant 

A youth of folly, and an age of cards, 

wrote Pope, referring to Kitty Olive's ruhng pas- 
sion. "Mrs. Clive," writes Horace Walpole, "I 
flatter myself, is really recovered, having had no 


relapse since I mentioned her last. She even 
partakes of the diversions of the carnival which at 
Twickenham commences at Michaelmas, and lasts 
as long as there ai-e four persons to make a pool. 
I have preached against hot rooms, hut the Devil, 
who can conceal himself in a black ace as well as 
in an apple or a guinea, has been too mighty for 
me, and so, like other divines, when I cannot root 
out vice, I join in it."* 

What a pleasant life she must have led at Chve- 
den — as Walpole humorously called it — whence 
he cut a green lane across the meadows to his own 
house, and called it Drury-Lane. " Trim Horace 
and Portly Clive," with their brilliant company, 
jiliilandering and gossiping through the pleasant 
Twickenham meadows, or over a cup of tea, was 
no unusual sight. She was almost as fond of tea 
as she was of cards, and when she lived in lodgings 
in Jermyn Street — in her professional days — Sir 
Joshua Reynolds not infrequently took a " dish o' 
tay" with the jovial, ugly, witty, sensible actress. 
Kitty had few cares at this time ; her private cha- 
racter was iiTeproachable ; her chief trials were 
when the taxgatherer ran off, and she was made to 
pay her rates twice ; or when, as she said, the 
parish refused to mend her ways ; or when she 

* Vide Horace Walpole's Letters, vol. viii. pp. 186, 187. 


was robbed in her own lane by footpads. *' Have 
you not heard," she wrote to Garrick in 1770, "of 
your poor Pivy? I have been robbed and mur- 
dliered, coining from Kingston. Jimey" (her 
brother) '* and I in a post-chey, at half-past nine, 
just by Teddington Church was stopt. I only lost 
a little silver and my senses ; for one of them came 
into the carriage with a great horse pistol, to search 
for my watch, but I had it not with me." Consi- 
dering Kitty's customary orthography, this letter 
is a marvel of good spelling. 

But althougli Mrs. Clive had abandoned the 
stage, she did not cease to take a warm interest in 
her former profession. Her countrywoman, Miss 
Pope — then steadily rising in the favour of the 
public — spent much of her time at Little Straw- 
berry Hill, where Mrs. Clive assisted her with 
much good advice. She and Garrick became very 
good friends after she left the stage. He took to 
praising her in the green-room ; but when Kitty 
was told of this, she only laughed, and shrewdly 
said that he only did it for the sake of annoying 
Mrs. Abingdon, whom he dishked. Mrs. Clive 
very often visited the theatre after her retirement ; 
and, the year before her death, went to see Mrs. 
Siddons as Lady Macbeth. Upon being asked her 
opinion of the great actress, she replied that " it 
was all truth and daylight." She was too generous- 


minded ever to withhold praise where praise was 
due. Certainly, it was often given grudgingly 
and spitefully, but it was accorded nevertheless. 
Ajnvpos of this, an amusing story is told con- 
cerning Garrick and her. At the time of the 
occurrence she had never seen him perform in 
tragedy, and during one of their squabbles said 
she did not think he could do so. Determined to 
convince her, he assumed Hamlet in a few days. 
KiLty stood at tho wings ; the genuine enthusiasm 
for her art caused her to forget her private pique, 
and she applauded vigorously. " Well, Kitty," 
said Garrick complacently, as he came off after the 
last scene, " have I convinced you that I can act 
in tragedy ?" The actress was immediately for- 
gotten in the woman : bursting into tears of 
vexation, she exclaimed with her customary want 

of coherence of ideas, — " Tragedy ! Why, d n 

you, Davie ! you could act a gridii-on !" 

Mrs. Clive was now (in 1785) an old woman. 
Slie was in lier seventy-fifth year, and constantly 
ailing; but her exhaustless energy hmdered her 
from giving way. She had a severe attack of 
some chest complaint in the spring of 1782, from 
wliich she does not seem ever to have quite re- 
covered. Over and over again Horace Walpole 
expresses his concern about her health. More 
fortunate in her old age than most women of her 


profession at that time, she had a free house, plenty 
of money, and plenty of friends. They smoothed 
the way for her, but they could not avert the last 
scene of all. 

" My poor old friend (Mrs. Clive) is a great 
loss ; but it did not much surprise mc, and the 
manner comforts me. I had played at cards with 
her at Mrs. Gostling's three nights before I came 
to town, and fancied her extremely confused, and 
not knowing what she did : indeed, I perceived 
something of the sort before, and had found her 
much broken this autumn. It seems that the day 
after I saw her, she went to General Lister's 
biu'ial, and caught cold, and had been ill for two or 
three days. On tl^e Wednesday morning she rose 
to have her bed made ; and while sitting on the 
bed with her maid by her, sank down at once, and 
died without a pang or a groan. Poor Mr. Eaftor 
is struck to the greatest degree, and for some days 
refused to see anybody. She is to be buried to- 

The Gentleman's Magazine for December 6th, 
1785, has the following notice : — 

" At Twickenham, aged 72, Mrs. Catherine 
Clive. She was the daughter of Mr. WiUiam 
Raftor, who was bred to the law." 

* Letter from Horace Walpole to Lady Browne. Date, De- 
cember 14th, 1785. 



She was buried in a vault beneath Twickenliam 

Kitty Chve was not beautiful. Horace Walpole 
constantly says she was " bonny" and " bewitch- 
ing." From what can be gathered from the 
various scattered contemporary notices, it may 
safely be asserted that her attractiveness lay in a 
certain charm of manner, combined with her un- 
failing humour and high spirits. She was noble- 
natured and generous-minded, and quite worthy 
of the appellation bestowed upon her by Percy 
Fitzgerald, who calls her " a pearl of the stage !" 


Born, a.d. 1762. Died, a.d. 1816. 

ET another victim to Royal caprice and 
selfishness ! The cliild of an Irishman 
and of the daughter of a Welsh clergy- 
man, Dorothy Bland was born in Waterford about 
the year X7G2 — that southern Irish city which has 
given to the stage three of its best actresses — 
namely, Kitty Olive, Maria Pope, and the subject 
of this sketch. Under the name of Miss Francis 
she made her debut on the Dubhn stage in 1777, 
as Fhcebe, in "As You Like It." Iler success 
seems to have been rather moderate, in consequence 
of which, and also because of a row which she had 
with Daly, the manager, she went to Oork, where 
she was warmly received, and afforded a free 
benefit, by which she cleared the munificent sum 
of 40/. ! 

Nothing succeeds like success ; and in conse- 
quence of the favourable reception afforded to her 
by the good people of Oork, who were charmed 
with her archness of manner and her sportive sim- 


plicity, Daly made the young actress an ofler of 
three gumeas a week, if she would only return to 
Smock Alley. She accepted this engagement, but 
soon left Dublin again. Daly acted rudely towards 
her, which she resented, and in 1782 she went to 
England, where she was engaged by Tate Wilkin- 
son to appear at the Leeds Theatre, as Calista, in 
"The Fair Penitent." Upon being introduced 
to Tate Wilkinson, he asked her what was her 
" line" — whether " tragedy, comedy, or opera ;" to 
which she at once replied with nlacrity, " Them 
all !" Moreover, she undertook to give him a 
specimen of her operatic powers as soon as the 
tragedy was over, by going on and singing " The 
Greenwood Laddie." Wilkinson was almost afraid 
to risk the innovation ; however, the wild Irish 
girl persisted, and had her way. ** But on she 
jumped," says Boaden, " with her elastic spring, 
and a smile that Nature's own cunning hand had 
moulded, in a frock and a little mob-cap, and her 
curls as she wore them all her hfe ; and she sang 
her ballad so enchantingly as to fascinate her 
hearers, and convince the manager that every 
charm had not been exhausted by past times, 
nor all of them numbered ; for the volunteer, 
unaccompanied ballad of Mrs. Jordan was pe- 
culiar to her, and charmed only by her voice and 


It was whilst at York* she assumed — by the 
advice of some of her friends there — the name of 
** Mrs. Jordan." Tate Wilkinson suggested the 
cognomen ; " for," said he, " you have just crossed 
over the waters of Jordan — the Irish Channel." 
With this manager she also went to Leeds, back 
again to York, but during this provincial tour 
does not appear to have scored any particular 
success. Still in Tate Wilkinson's company, she 
came to London in 1785, and procured an engage- 
ment at Drury Lane, where was then congregated 
one of the most brilliant theatrical companies the 
world has ever seen. 

Dorothy Jordan made her first curtsey to a 
London audience on the 18th of October, 1785, in 
the character of P^^<7?/, in "The Country Girl." 
" She came to town," says Mrs. Inclibald, in her 
generous criticism, " with no report in her favour 
to elevate her above a very moderate salary, or to 
attract more than a very moderate house when 
she appeared. But here moderation'stopped. She 
at once displayed such consummate art, with such 
bewitching nature, such excellent sense, and such 

* Mr. Cornelius Swan, the great York critic of the day, used to 
Bay that he had " discovered" Mrs. Jordan. Tate Wilkinson gives 
an amusing picture of him sitting by the actress's bedside with a 
bad cold, and Mrs. Jordan's red cloak wrapped around him whilst 
he gave her lessons in theatrical matters. 


innocent simplicity, that her auditors were bound- 
less in their plaudits, and so warm in their praises 
when they left the theatre that their friends at 
home would not give credit to tlie extent of their 

Viola, in " Twelfth Night," was her next charac- 
ter, then Imogen ; but neither pleased the audience 
as well as did Peggy. Mrs. Jordan had the rare 
good sense to keep to jDarts which suited her, so 
that for the future she wisely confined herself to 
the study of comedy alone. Her forte was comedy 
— laughing, exuberant comedy — and in such parts 
no actress ever excelled her. " In male attke," 
says one of her critics, " no actress can be named 
in competition with her but Mrs. WoiUugton, and 
slie was n.s superior to Mrs. Wofiington in voice as 
Wofhiigton was to her in beauty. She sang so 
sweetly — with such distinct articulation, and such 
enchanting melody — that her introduced airs, 
always appropriate to the occasion, were often 
called for tlu-ee times." 

Mrs. Abingdon was one of the queens of Drury 
Lane at the time. She was not a favourite with 
her sister actresses, who secretly despised her ; 
Kitty Clive especially signahsing her as a mark 
for her pungent sarcasm. I\trs. Abingdon affected 
the society of ladies of quality, and was never so 
happy as when a duchess permitted her to call her 

VOL. I. X 


by her Christian name. What gall and wormwood 
it must have been to her to see the throne of 
coraedy, which she had held so long, usurped by 
Dorothy Jordan, who was merely a raw young 
Irish actress-of-all-work from the York circuit — a 
girl who dressed carelessly, moved and sang as tlie 
whim prompted her, thought nothing of stage 
traditions, and, in short, was as completely the 
incarnation of natural charm as Mrs. Abingdon 
was of artificial. 

All her life Mrs. Jordan was living, as it is 
euphemistically called, " under protection." ller 
protector, soon after she came to London, was a 
Mr. Ford, who was the father of three of her 
children. It is said that but for the interference 
of his fixmily this gentleman would have married 
her ; but upon this head we have no very authentic 
particulars. Mrs. Jordan's position as a comedy 
actress being now fully established, she accepted 
a provincial engagement, visiting Glasgow, Edin- 
burgh, York, Leeds, and Chester. In all the places 
where she had formerly acted, the enthusiastic 
reception she now met with fully compensated 
for any coldness her country audiences may have 
hitherto shown. When at Chester, Mrs. Jordan, 
hearing that a poor widow, with three young 
children, was imprisoned for a small debt, with 
expenses, amounting to 8/., paid the amount, and 


procured the debtor's release. The same evening, 
whilst taking shelter from the rain, under ' a porch 
in the street, she was surprised by the appearance 
of the woman with her children, kneeling before 
her, to thank her for her kindness. The scene 
strongly affected her ; and not less so a Methodist 
preacher, who had taken shelter under the same 
porch, who stretched forth his hand to Mrs. Jordan, 
saying :— 

" Would to the Lord the world were all like 
thee !" 

"No," she said, retreating a little, "I wont 
shake hands with you." 

" Why ?" was the amazed query. 

" Because you are a Mctliodist preacher," she 
replied ; " and when you know who I am you will 
send me to the devil." 

" The Lord forbid !" he exclaimed. *' I am, as 
you say, a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, 
who tells us to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, 
and relieve the distressed ; and do you think I can 
behold a sister fulfil the commands of my great 
Master, without feeling that spiritual attach- 
ment which leads me to break through worldly 
customs, and offer you the hand of fellowship and 
brotherly love ?" 

*' Well !" she exclaimed i'mpulsively, " you are a 
good old soul, I daresay; but I don't like fanatics, 
' X 2 


and you'll not like me when I tell you wliat I 

" I hope I shall," was the reply. 

" Well, then, I am a player." 

The preacher sighed. 

" Yes," she continued, " I am a player, and you 
must have heard of me. My name is Mrs. Jordan." 

After a short pause, the preacher, extending his 
hand, said : — 

"The Lord bless thee, whoever thou art ! His 
goodness is inillmited. He has bestowed u[)on 
tlico a large portion of TTis Spirit ; and, as to tliy 
calling, if thy soul upbraid thee not, the Lord for- 
bid that I should." 

Mrs. Jordan accepted the good man's hand, and 
walked some little distance with him, when he 
parted from her, saying : — 

" Fare thee well, sister. I know not what the 
prmciples of people of thy calling may be ; thou 
art the first of them I ever conversed with ; but if 
their benevolent practices be equal to thine, I hope 
and trust at the great day that the Almighty will 
say to each, ' Thy sins be forgiven thee !' " 

For the next few years we find Mrs. Jordan 
acting at Drury Lane constantly, where she 
had for her associates, Mrs. Siddons and Miss 
Elizabeth Farren. Mrs. Jordan and Miss 
Farren, although both mistresses of comedy, 


never became rivals. Miss Farren's comedy 
was of the essentially aristocratic type ; Mrs. 
Jordan's, outrageously bustling and exuberant. 
There were some captious critics who infinitely 
preferred Mrs. Jordan's Lady Teazle to that of 
Miss Farren. The latter was exclusively the fine 
lady, whilst Mrs. Jordan gave those little touches 
of rusticity, considered by some as necessary to 
mark the country education of the lively heroine. 
Her professional career chronicles a- long list of 
provincial and metropolitan successes, and during 
the twenty-eight years that she was before the 
public, she was universally admitted to be the 
most brilliant comic genius of her day. 

Sir Josluia lleynolds Avent to one of her benefits 
— about t])e time when Mrs. Siddons went to tea 
with Dr. Johnson in Bolt Court, and found he had 
not a chair for her to sit on — when she played 
Ilypolita, in " She Would and She Would Not," 
and Mrs. Brady, in "The Irish Widow;" but he did 
not paint her portrait, although we find from his 
visiting-book that she used to come to his studio. 
Ronmey jiainted a fascinating half-length of her 
as " The Country Girl," a portrait which is one of 
the happiest efforts of his genius. The expression 
is bewitch mg, quite as much so as that of any of 
liis Lady Hamilton s. But it would not have been 
Dorothy Jordan's likeness had it been other than 


bewitching; for there was an irresistible joyousness 
about her, quite independentof any regular beauty 
of feature. 

And now we raise the curtain upon her private 
life. In the year 1790 she made the acquaintance 
of the Duke of Clarence ; an association which at 
first somewhat injured her popularity. She was 
at this time playing at Covent Garden, with a 
salary of 30/. a week ; which the manager was 
beginning to grumble about paying, as the public 
prints had bcgmi to deliver strictures ii[)on her 
conduct, and also charged her with remissness in 
the discharge of her professional duties. The 
public is very quick to resent any discourtesy upon 
the part of Her Majesty's servants, as Mrs. Jordan 
soon discovered to her cost. On one occasion 
the audience received her with manifest marks of 
displeasure. The brilliant actress, however, was 
not daunted, and advancing to the footlights, she 
thus addressed them : — 

" Ladies and gentlemen, — I should conceive my- 
self utterly unworthy of your favour, if the slightest 
mark of public disapprobation did not affect me 
sensibly. Since I have had the honour and the 
happiness to strive here to please you, it has been 
my constant endeavour, by miremitting assiduity, 
to merit your approbation. I beg to assure you, 


upon my honour, that I have never absented 
myself one minute from the duties of my profes- 
sion but from real indisposition ; thus having 
invariably acted, I do consider myself under the 
public protection." 

It was just at this time she consented to put 
herself under the protection of the Duke of Cla- 
rence, he allowing her 1000/. a year. The King 
thouglit it too mncli, and suggested 500/. Mrs. 
Jordan's only answer to tlie proposition was a 
pertinent reply, quite characteristic of the lively 

In the previous March of that year Mrs. Jordan 
played Coolia, in the "Greek Slave," for her benefit. 
Ca>Ha is the mistress to a king's son, and tiiis, 
coupled with a prophetic allusion in tlie modern 
epilogue to a future condition in her lifj, which 
was not then in the remotest degree contem- 
plated, is noted by Mr. Boaden, in his Memoirs, 
as a coincidence. 

Mrs. Jordan was faithful to her Koyal lover, 
and an excellent mother to his ten children. Their 
domestic harmony was proverbial, and continued 
uninterrupted for the twenty-one years that they 
lived together. The true reason of their separation 
has never transpired ; but the fatal faitldesslcss of 
the Georges is too notorious to leave any doubt 
but that it proceeded from caprice or State reasons. 


The separation took place in 1811, and the 
unexpected manner in which the news reached 
Mrs. Jordan suggests a parallel between her case 
and that of the ill-fated " Perdita." She was acting 
at Cheltenham one night, when she received a 
letter informing her that lier connexion witli the 
Duke of Clarence must cease, and desiring her to 
meet him at Maidenhead the next day. With 
much difficulty she struggled through her pai't 
that evening, and the next day had an interview 
with the Duke. What passed is not known, save 
that the unhappy woman, who was sincerely 
attached to the lloyal scoundrel, was told that 
she was henceforth to be unto him as a stranger. 
To a confidential friend she addressed the following 
letter upon the subject : — 

" My dear Sir, — I received yours, and its 
inclosure, safe this morning. My mind is begin- 
ning to feel somewhat reconciled to the shock and 
surprise it has lately received ; for could you or 
the world believe that we never had, for twenty 
years, the semblance of a quarrel ? But this is 
so well known in our domestic circle, that the 
astonishment is the greater ! Money, money, my 
good friend, or the want of it, has, I am convinced, 
made him at this moment the most wretched of 
men ; but having done wrong, he does not like to 


retract. But with all his excellent qualities, his 
domestic virtues, and his love for his lovely chil- 
dren, what must he not at this moment suffer ! 
His distresses should have been relieved before ; 
but this is cntre nous. 

" All his letters are full of the most unqualified 
praise of my conduct ; and it is the most heartfelt 
blessing to know that, to the best of my power, I 
have endeavoured to deserve it. I have received 
the greatest kindness and attention from the 

11 1, and every branch of the Royal family, 

who, in the most unreserved terms, deplore this 
melancholy business. The whole correspondence 

is before the K 1 ; and, I am proud to add, 

tliat u)y p.'ist and present conduct lias secured mo 
a friend, who declares he never will forsake me, 
'My forbearance,' he says, 'is beyond what he 
could have imagined.' But what will not a woman 
do, who is firmly and sincerely attached '? Had 
he left me to starve I never would have uttered a 
word to his disadvantage. I inclose you two 
other letters ; and in a day or two you shall see 

more, the rest being in the hands of the 11 1. 

And now, my dear friend, do not hear the D. of C. 
unfairly abused. He has done wrong, and he is 
suffering for it. But as far as he has left it m his 
own power, he is doing everything kind and noble, 
even to the distressing himself I thank you 


sincerely for the friendly caution at the end of 
your letter, though I trust there will be no occa- 
sion for it ; but it was kind and friendly, and as 
such I shall ever esteem it. 

" I remain, dear Sir, 

" Yours sincerely, 

"Dora Jordan." 

From a pecuniary point of view, Mrs. Jordan's 
future was well provided for. She was to receive, 
for the maintenance of the Duke's four daughters, 
and a house and carriage for their use, 2100/. ; for 
her own use, 1500/. per annum; and, to enable 
her to make provision for her married daugliters, 
the children of her former connexion with Mr. 
Ford, 800/. per annum, making altogether 4400/. 
It was also stipulated that in the event of Mrs. 
Jordan's returning to her former profession, the 
Duke's four daugliters were to be removed from 
her guardianship, and their allowance to revert to 
their father. This arrangement was put in force 
a few months later, when Mrs. Jordan returned to 
the stage. The mental suffering she endured ren- 
dered it indispensable that she should keep her 
brain well occupied. But grief had so altered the 
once brilliant actress, that she met with but little 
success in the arena of her former triumphs. Of 
her, Hazlitt says : — 


" Mrs. Jordan's excellences were all natural to 
her. It was not as an actress, but as herself, that 
she charmed every one. Nature had formed her in 
her most prodigal humour ; and when Nature is 
in the humour to make a woman all that is de- 
lightful, she does it most effectually. Her face, 
her tones, her manner were irresistible. Her smile 
had the effect of sunshine, and her laugli did one 
good to hear it. Her voice was eloquence itself ; 
it seemed as if her heart were always at her mouth. 
She was all gaiety, openness, and good-nature. 
She rioted in her fine animal spirits, and gave more 
pleasure than any other actress, because she had 
the greatest spirit of enjoyment in herself" 

When the Duke of Clarence became William IV. 
he raised his eldest son by Mrs. Jordan to the 
dignity of Earl of Munster, his other children 
havuig due precedence. 

The scene changes. In a gloomy, miserable 
apartment, in a lodging-house at St, Cloud, a 
woman lies dying. Everything bespeaks, if not 
utter destitution, at least very straitened circum- 
stances upon the part of the occupants of the 
chamber. With the close of the June evening 
the bright, loving spbit of Dorothy Jordan takes 
its flight to Him who proudly numbered the Mag- 
dalen amongst His friends. 


Dur'mcr her residence in St. Cloud, Mrs. Jordan 
had passed under the name of Mrs. Johnson, or, as 
some say, Mrs. James. There is a dispute as to 
the exact date of her death, some affirming that it 
took place on July the 3rd, 181G, instead of in 
June. There were also those who asserted that 
they had seen her in London later than her alleged 
death in June, and concerning this Boaden, the 
actor, tells the following story : — 

" I was taking," he says, " a very usual walk 
before dinner, and I stopped at a bookseller's 
window on the left side of Piccadilly, to look at an 
embellishment to some new publication tliat struck 
my eye. On a sudden a lady stood by my side, 
who had stopped with a similar impulse ; to my 
conviction it was Mrs. Jordan. As she did not 
speak, but dropped a long white veil immediately 
over her face, I concluded that she did not wish to 
be recognised, and therefore, however I should have 
wished an explanation of what so surprised me, I 
yielded to her pleasure upon the occasion, grounded, 
I had no doubt, upon sufficient reason. When I 
returned to my own house at dinner time, I men- 
tioned the circumstance at table, and the way in 
which it struck me is yet remembered in the 
family. I used on the occasion the strong lan- 
guage of Macbeth, ' If I stand here, I saw her.' It 
was but very recently I heard for the first time 


that one of lier daugliters, Mrs. Alsop, had, to her 
entire conviction, met her mother in the Strand 
after the rejDort of her death ; that the reahty or 
tlie fancy threw her into fits at the time, and that 
to her own death she believed that she had not 
been deceived." 

Of Mrs. Jordan's amiable and generous disposi- 
tion as a woman there can be but one opinion, and 
tliat a fixvourable one. Of her abilities as an 
actress all her contemporaries speak in terms of 
delight and admu'ation, and the neglectful and 
heartless way in which she was left to die, in com- 
parative poverty and loneliness, is but an additional 
commentary upon the text, " Put not your trust m 


Born a.d. 1759. Died a.d. 1829. 

MONGST the great names which liave Im- 
parted kistre and dionity to the comic 
drama, that of Farren stands unrivalled. 
Nineteen years ago died the aged William Farren, 
who for upwards of half a century delighted the 
comedy-loving playgoers of his time. His father 
was also an actor, and the original Careless, in 
Sheridan's " School for Scandal." The manner 
and delivery of both these comedians are now 
quoted as precedents. The easy, natural, and 
well-bred style in which they acted the parts of 
fine gentlemen has often been commented upon. 
Sir Peter Teazle found an admirable exponent 
in William Farren the elder, a part which at 
present finds its best interpreter in the William 
Fan-en of our own day. His performance of this 
character during the successful revival of "The 
School for Scandal" at the Vaudeville Theatre, in 
1873, will long be remembered as an intellectual 


treat and a liiglily-finislied piece of artistic 
comedy. Between this family of Farrens and the 
subject of the present memoir it is not easy to 
trace a relationship, if any. But in considering 
the history of the British stage — so rich in 
genealogies — histrionic talent, and that in an 
especial line too, is so often found to be hereditary, 
that it is difficult to come to the conclusion that 
some of the greatest male and female comedians, as 
they have the same name, do not spring from the 
same common stock. 

No more distinguished daughter of Thalia ever 
trod the boards of a theatre than Elizabeth Farren. 
Nature combined "vvith Art to shower upon her 
every good gi't wliicli could tend to insure and 
to enhance her success. She was one of the hest 
representatives of the fine lady that has ever 
appeared upon the stage. In appearance she was 
tall, and her bearing aristocratic ; rather thin, but 
with a form every gesture of which was eloquent 
of grace and dignity. Her face was expressive, 
her features regular, and her voice, although 
very powerful, was mellow and feminine. She 
had received a good education, her pronunciation 
having been carefully attended to. Her words 
were always perfectly articulate, and her manner 
of speaking was quite free from all approach to 
affectation, provinciahsm, or vulgarity. Tate Wil- 


kinson, tlian whom there was no one more capable 
of giving an opinion, speaks enthusiastically about 
Miss Farren. 

*' Having so often mentioned Mrs. Woffington," 
he says, *'I naturally apprehend that many persons 
who have not had the pleasure of seeing her would 
like a short description of that celebrated actress ; 
and having related so many particulars of that 
lady, and pronounced authoritatively how much I 
was thought a strong caricature of her stage 
manner, it might be judged that I could give 
some ideas as to a similitude, whicli indeed I can, 
with the strongest traits, and at the same time 
compliment the present age on their possessing 
an actress in a first polished character in the arch 
and attractive Miss Farren. Such parts as Lady 
Townly, Maria, Millamant, &c., now represented 
by her, were formerly thought Mrs. Woffington's 
best line of acting. Miss Farren is to a certainty 
very like Mrs. Woffington in some points, and 
enchantingly superior in others. Miss Farren, as 
to every intrinsic quality, may bid the world look 
on, scrutinise, and envy ; while on the opposite 
side we are compelled to place comparatively 
Mrs. Woffington (who also had her share of praise- 
worthy quahties), yet a veil will be sometimes 
necessary to shade the frailties too often prevalent 
over the human disposition. 


" A fasliion having very much obtained of late 
years of giving what are called scales of merit of 
different theatrical performers, I have been induced 
to form a scale, in which I have weighed the 
respective merits of Mrs. Woffington and Miss 
Farren, and which I trust Avill be looked on by 
candid judges as a fair and impartial statement of 
the personal qualifications of the two ornaments 
of the theatre, whom it places in a comparative 
point of view. 


** Their complexion and features much alike. 
Miss Farren will be more like ten years hence, 
before wlilcli time T ho|)0 she will bo distinguiHlied 
by some otlicr a[)))cllation. 

]\Ii!,s. AVomNOTON. Miss Faiirhn. 

Mrs. Woffington was tall .... So is Miss Farren. 

Mrs. Woffington was beautiful . . So is Miss Farren. 

Mrs. Woffington ■^\ as elegant . . So is Miss Farren. 

Mrs. Woffington was well-bred . . So is Miss Farren. 

Mrs. Woffington had wit .... So has Miss Farren. 

Mrs. Woffington had a harsh, ) IMiss Farren's nuisical 

broken, and discordant voice . . ) and bewitching. 

Mrs. Woffington could be rude and i -.f ^t, 

° { Miss 1* arren, never. 

vulgar ) 

" So undoubtedly Miss Farren seizes the wreath 
of Fame with security, as she adds to her per- 
fections in the scale of merit, virtue, modesty, 
reverence to a parent, and every other endearing 
quality ; therefore, with propriety and for the 

VOL. I. Y 


credit of the drama, let me hurl my cap and 

cry — • ' ■...:; 

Long live THE FAKREN! ^ ,j^ 

So my dear, agreeable Miss Farren, for the present 

In the annals of the stnge there is scarcely a 
more romantic history than that of " Lizzy Farren." 
Her father was a surgeon in Cork, and her mother 
the daughter of a brewer in Liverpool. Of idle 
and dissolute habits, Mr. Farren, through his 
imprudence and love of drink, plunged his family 
into debt and difliculties. Tliey were reduced to 
dire straits, and at the solicitation of his wife 
they all left Cork, and went to live in Liverpool, 
in the hope that Mrs. Farren's relatives might 
afford them some aid. The improvident Irish- 
man and his family do not seem to have met with 
a very warm reception from tlieir English relations, 
and, at this juncture, having become acquainted 
with some persons connected with the theatre in 
Liverpool, Mrs. Farren decided upon trying her 
fortune as an actress. She obtained several pro- 
vincial and London engagements, but her talents 
do not seem ever to have soared beyond mediocrity ; 
nevertheless, she was so far successful that she 
determined to bring up her three daughters to 
the same profession. 

* Tate Wilkinson's " Memoirs," vol. i. pp. 105-7. 


Indeed, the whole Farren family seem to have 
become stage-struck about this time. Mr. Farren, 
although so idle and dissipated, was possessed of 
a fair sliare of histrionic ability ; and he too essayed 
to try his fortune on the boards. In the winter of 
1769 he got together a strolling company, and 
taking with him his little daughter " Lizzy," set 
out for a tour through some of the provincial 

On Christmas Eve, 17 GO, they reached the town 
of Salisbury. " They had a shabby-genteel air 
about them ; looked hungry and happy ; and one 
or two wore one hand in the pocket, upon an 
economising principle in reference to gloves." They 
entered the town with as much state as they could 
assume, preceded by the drummer, who, with his 
noisy instrument, loudly announced the advent of 
the troupe. The procession was closed by a fine, 
gentleman-like man, holding by the hand a pretty, 
gracefid little girl. He was the ex-surgeon of 
Cork, and the little girl was his pet daughter, 
Lizzy Farren, the future Countess of Derby. 

The Mayor of Salisbury chanced, upon this 
particular day, not to have been in an especially 
amiable frame of mind. Moreover, he had a very 
vivid vsense of the dignity which hedged round his 
civic oJQRce ; and hurled his magisterial wrath at 
the manager for daring to bring his strolling 

Y 2 


players into the town without first requesting 
permission to do so. The manager protested that 
he was then, in company with his players, on his 
way to request the Mayor's license to act in 
Salisbury. But it was all in vain ; the wrath of 
the groat man had been roused ; the vagabond 
actors had entered the borough without permis- 
sion, and the unlucky manager was condemned to 
pass his Christmas in durance vile, in the lock-up. 

The Mayor had been playing at single-stick 
with a couple of strangers wlien the noise of the 
drum liad arnusod lilm, and disturbed tlio game. 
They looked on gravely, and listened to the 
altercation between the irascible Mayor and the 
manager, but a shrewd observer might have no- 
ticed that a glance of intelligence passed between 
the disciples of the single-stick and those of the 
sock and buskin. 

. " Permission I will never give," said his worship ; 
** we are a godly people here, and have no taste 
for rascal players. As His Majesty's representa- 
tive, I am bound to encourage no amusements that 
are not respectable." 

" But our young king," interrupted Mr. Farren, 
" is himself a great patron of the theatre." 

This was worse than a heavy blow at single- 
stick ; and the Mayor was the more wroth as he 
had no argument ready to meet it. After looking 


angry for a moment, a bright thought struck 

" Ay, ay, sh ! you will not, I hope, teach a 
Mayor either fact or duty. We know, sir, what 
the Imig (God bless him!) patronises. His Majesty 
does not pati'onise strollers. He goes regularly to 
an established church, sir, and to an established 
theatre ; and so, sir, I, as Mayor, support only 
estabhshments. Good heavens ! What would be- 
come of the throne and the altar if a Mayor of 
Sarum were to do otherwise. "^^' 

As Mr. Farren did not well know, he could not 
very readily tell ; and as he stood there mute, the 
Mayor continued to pour down upon the player 
and jiis vocation a shower of oblocpiy. At every 
allusion which he made to his predilection for 
amusements that were respectable and instructive, 
the single-stick players drew themselves up, cried 
Hea?' ! hear ! and looked down upon the actors 
with an air of burlesque contemj^tt. The actors, 
men and women, returned the look with a burst 
of uncontrollable laughter. The Mayor took this 
for deliberate insult, aimed at himself and at what 
he chose to patronise. His proteges looked the 
more proud and became louder than ever hi 
their self-applauding Hear I hear ! The players 

* YiAe Dr. Doran's " Kuiglits and their Days." 


the while shrieked with laughter. Even Mr. 
Farren and Lizzy could not refrain from risibility, 
for the single-stick players were actually members 
of the company, who had preceded the main body 
of the performers.' One A^as Mr. Frederick Fitz- 
montague, who was great in Ilamlet ; the other 
was the ruffian in melodramas and the clOwn in 
pantomimes, and as he did a little private business 
of his own, by accepting an engagement from a 
religious society during the dull season of the 
year, to preach on the highways against theatricals, 
Mr. Osmond Brontere was usually known by the 
cognomen of " Missionary Jack." 

So the manager was taken off to the lock-up, 
and Httle Lizzy, weeping bitterly, was taken 
charge of by some inembers of the company. It 
was raining heavily at the time, but during the 
night it ceased, and so hard a frost set in that 
Salisbury looked as though built upon a sheet of 
ice. In the market-place lived a respectable 
upholsterer of the name of Buri-oughs, and early 
on the Christmas morning a boy stood at the door 
of the shop, watching a little girl who cautiously 
and stealthily advanced across the slippery ground. 
The girl was Lizzy Farren, who was carrying a 
bowl of boiling milk -her own scanty breakfast — 
to her father, locked up in the iron cage. She 
advanced so slowly that the milk ran the risk of 


being frozen before reaching its destination. Young 
Burro uglis watched her, and, seeing her fear of 
falhng, offered to cany the bowl, but she refused 
to allow any one but herself to carry her father's 
breakfast to linn on such a morning. The lad had 
ah'eady made friends with some of the actors, so 
he knew all about Lizzy, and of her aifection for 
her erratic sire, so he did not j^ress the offer. He 
accompanied her to the iron cage, through the bars 
of which they had the satisfaction of seeing the 
captive manager drink the warm milk. 
' Lizzy and her cavaher remained with the 
prisoner, who looked forward to passmg his Christ- 
mas Day m tliat cheerless abode, when a town 
constable .'ij)pcaro(l, a.ccoinpaniod by a clerical 
gentleman, the former being empowered to give 
liberty to the ca])tivo. The constable told the 
manager that his liberation was due to the inter- 
cession of the Reverend Mr. Snodgrass, who had 
that morning arrived in Salisbury. Little Lizzy 
looked attentively at the pseudo-clerical dignitary, 
and, much to her amazement, recognised him to be 
none other than Mr. Osmond Brontere, alias Mis- 
sionary Jack, alias the Reverend Mr. Snodgrass. 

" Oh, Mr. Brontere !" she exclaimed ui dehght, 
and soon as they were safely out of hearing of the 
constable, " how did you ever manage it ?" 

" Well," said the enterprismg actor, with a 


laugh, " I called uj)on his worship to inquire what 
Christmas charities niiglit be acceptable ; and if 
there were any prisoners whom my humble means 
might liberate. He named your father, and the 
company have paid what was necessary. His 
worship was not inexorable, particularly as I 
incidentally told him His Majesty patronised the 
other day an itinerant company at Datchet. And 
as for how I did it ! I rather think I am irresis- 
tible in the dress in which poor Will Havard, only 
two years ago, played Old Adam. A little inge- 
nuity, as you see, has made it look very like a 
rector's costume ; and besides," concluded Mis- 
sionary Jack, " I sometimes tliink that Nature 
intended me for the Church." 

Lizzy Farren danced and sang prettily, and her 
father found her very useful to send her on to 
dance and sing between the acts. For three years 
she was a member of this strolling company, and 
her name .even appears in some old provincial play- 
bills quoted by Tate Wilkinson. Another Christ- 
mas Eve had come, and Lizzy — who had now lost 
her father — was with the strolling players at 
Wakefield. They were going to give a grand 
Christmas pantomime, called " Old Mother Red- 
cap," in which would appear " The Young Queen 
of Columbines," "Miss Elizabeth Farren." All 
the young bachelors of the town were besieging 


the box-office, and one in particular — a bright- 
looking articled clerk, read the playbill attentively. 
At this juncture, who should step forth on her way 
home from rehearsal, but the Queen of Columbines. 
She was a pretty, fairy -looking girl of just fifteen, 
and the susceptible hearts of the male youth of 
Wakefield, who were congregated at, 
were not proof against her fascinations. It had 
been freezing hard all day, and as the youthful 
actress proceeded down the street she had many 
an offer made her of an arm to help her over the 
slippery pavement. In a courteous and dignified 
manner she refused all advances, and succeeded in 
getting rid of all her suitors, save one, who persisted 
in following licr. Seeing the girl was sciioualy 
annoyed, the lawyer's cleric stepped forward 
without any ceremony, took the young lady's arm 
in his, and constituted himself her champion. Her 
persecutors sneaked away ; then the Knight and 
the Lady looked into each other's face. It would 
bo dilficult to say which was the more surprised, 
Lizzy Farren to see young Burroughs, who had 
succoured her upon that frosty Christmas morning 
when she carried the warm milk to her father, or 
the incipient lawyer to see in the pretty young 
actress before him the forlorn little girl who gave 
up her meagre breakfast to her captive sire. 

" The young Queen of Columbines" was enthu- 


siastically received upon her first appearance upon 
the stage at Wakefield. In company with an 
ecstatic stage-struck amateur, young Burroughs 
went to see the performance. "What a treasure," 
said the amateur, "would this girl be in Liver- 
pool." The faithful Burroughs then and there 
offered to accept an engagement for Lizzy, and 
hearing that Younger, the manager of the Liver- 
pool theatre, was at a neighbouring tavern, he 
left the' theatre intent upon pleading Lizzy's cause 
with the great man. 

' " I wonder," said tlio jnanagcr, " if your young 
fViend is the child of the Cork • surgeon, who 
married the daughter of Wright, the Liverpool 
brewer ; if so, she's clever. Besides, why " 

" Why she'll make your fortune !" exclaimed the 
la'Wyer's clerk. " She is the granddaughter of 
your Liverpool brewer, sings like a nightingale, 
aind is worth five pounds a week to you at least. 
Come and hear her." 

Younger went to hear her, and was more than 
charmed with her singing, dancing, and general 
appearance. The result was that before she left 
the theatre that night she was engaged by the 
Liverpool manager at the munificent salary of two 
pounds ten shillings per week, and to find her 
own satin shoes and stockings. 

It was upon this night that Lizzy Farren and 


her friend Mr, Burroughs uttered the prophetic 
speeches — 

" Mr. Burroughs," said the girl gratefully to the 
lawyer's clerk as he escorted her and her mother 
home, "this is the second Christmas you have 
made happy for us. I hope you may Hve to be 
Lord Chief Justice. " 

" Thank you, Lizzy," he replied ; " that is about 
as likely as that LiverjDool will make of the Wake- 
field Columbine a Countess. " 

Lizzy Farren speedily became a favourite with 
her Liverpool audience. Her relationship to one 
of its chief citizens, combined with the utmost 
decorum and rigid propriety of demeanour, en- 
liMUccd l)or social jis well as licr public success ; 
and, altbougli much sought after, not the faintest 
breath of scandal ever sullied her laii- fame. 
During the season she remained with Younger in 
Liverpool, her chief character was Rosetta, in " Love 
ill a Village," and she also sang and danced between 
the acts. About Christmas time the manager 
took his troupe upon a provmcial tour, which 
was eminently successful, for Lizzy Farren was 
the "star" of the company, and having made 
the same circuit before, she was warmly wel- 

They elected to spend the Christmas week at 
Chester, and whilst there occurred one of the 


many romantic incidents of Lizzy Farren's curious 
and romantic life. 

The young actress was about to take her 
first benefit, and as it was to take place on Twelfth 
Night, Shakspeare's play of the same name was 
selected for representation, Lizzy playing the ])art 
of Viola. It was then the custom for the actor or 
actress to wait upon people and request their 
presence upon the occasion. Tate Wilkinson did 
his best to put down the practice, as being dero- 
gatory to the dignity of the profession, but it 
continued to be done long after his time.* In 
accordance with this usage, Lizzy Farren went 
from house to house soliciting patronage for her 
benefit ; and at length, wearied and disappointed 
with her want of success, she' was wending her 
way towards her lodgings, when a horseman rode 
up. The gii-1 presented her playbills, at the same 
time soliciting half-a-crown, when, much to her 
delight, she recognised the equestrian to be 
Mr. Burroughs. 

"Lizzy," he exclaimed in delight, "you shall 
have such a house in Chester as the old town has 
not seen since the night when Garrick was here, 
and played Richard III. and Lord ChalJcstone." 

The young barrister kept his word, and the 

* The late Charles Dickens ridiculed this custom in many of hia 


tlieatre was crammed from floor to ceiling. The 
benefit was a pecuniary success, and, for the third 
time in her Ufe, Lizzy Farren hailed the budding 
counsellor as her " good Christmas angel." 

This happened in 177 G, and after a protracted 
tour, Younger brought back his company to Liver- 
pool. Lizzy Farren was now a recognised provin- 
cial stage queen ; and the manager, who was 
sincerely anxious for her advancement, generously 
advised her to go to London, altliougli it Avas 
acting against his own interests for her to do so. 
He said she was only wastmg her time in the 
country, and confidently predicted a brilliant future 
for her. She was not quite eighteen at the time. 

So Miss Elizabotli Farren — as all theatrical 
chronicles respectfully call her from this time forth 
— came to London, the goal of all brain-workers. 
This was in 1777. She had very httle money, but 
she had genius, youth, good looks, and two letters 
of warm recommendation to Cclman, the manager 
of the ITaymjirkct. One letter was from Mr. 
Burroughs, the other from Younger, who ever 
treated her with the most fatherly solicitude. 
Colman at once gave her an engagement, and on 
the 9th of June, 1777, Miss Farren made her first 
appearance upon the London stage as Miss ILird- 
casile, in Oliver Goldsmith's Comedy of " She 
Stoops to Conquer." It was not a part quite 


suited to display the young actress's peculiar 
powers, being merely a character requiring a cer- 
tain amount of archness and considerable versatility. 
The refined grace and easy high-breeding, which 
were the characteristics of Miss Farren's acting, 
have no place in the conception, which consequently 
allowed no fair scope for her histrionic gifts. She 
does not seem to have made any very great impres- 
sion upon her audience ; for the Dramatic Censor — 
which is commonly as ambiguous as the utterances 
of the Delphic Oracle — says of her : — 
, . " When tliis young lady lias coiKpicrod dif- 
fidence and acquired more experience; when she 
learns to tread the stage with more self-possession ; 
to modulate her tones ; to coirect in spirit, and 
vary her action, and to give a proper utterance to 
her feelings by a suitable expression of voice and 
countenance ; in our opinion slie will be a most 
valuable acquisition to our London theatres." 

Miss Farren was not discouraofed. She worked 
hard, and she persevered,, and when she played 
her favourite character of Rosetta, in " Love in. a 
Village," the tide of popular opinion began to sot 
in her favour. Colman was so pleased that he 
chose her as the original Rosina, in the " Spanish 
Barber," a play which has subsequently become 
better known as the opera of " The Barber of 
Seville." We may remark, en passant, that the 


prudish Colman omitted tlie most comic scene-r— 
that wherein the Count is disguised as a drunken 
trooper. ■ As Rosina, Miss Farren scored ,no suc- 
cess, and does not seem to have added much to her 
reputation as an actress by ]ier rendering of it. 
This is all the more contradictory, as the bills 
show that she played it for nineteen consecutive 
nights, and also selected it for lier benefit. , 

, , But at length the opportunity came, when she 
fulfilled tlie expectations of her faitliful friend. 
Younger, the manager of the Liverpool theatre. 
On the 21st of August, 1778, she played Lady 
Townly, in "The Provoked Husband," and on the 
2nd of September following. Lady Fanciful, in ''The 
Provoked Wife." The town, saw and apj^reciatod 
her in her true line. She was declared the reigning 
queen of comedy, and was unanimously elected to 
that throne which had been so ably filled by 
Margaret Woffington. 

Miss Farren's theatrical reputation was no\v 
assured. Managers vied with each other in trying 
to secure her services. She left the Hayrnar^^t 
in October, 1778, and during the season of 1778-79 
we find her — by some curious arrangement — play- 
ing, on alternate nights, at Covent Garden and 
Drury Lane. She made her first appearance at 
the latter theatre in the character of Charlotte 
Rusporl, in " The West Indian." This representa- 


tion was no less famous for tlie success of the 
young actress, who played the chief character, 
than for the galaxy of beauty which appeared in 
it. The four most beautiful women in London 
— all under twenty — were to be then seen on the 
stage at Drury Lane. There was tlio vain and 
fascinating l^erdita (Mrs. Mary Ilobinson), the 
beautiful and statuesque Miss Walpole, the irre- 
pressible Mrs. John Kemble, and Miss Elizabeth 

Urged thereto by the various managers. Miss 
Farren essayed tragedy ; but " the robes of Mel- 
pomene" never sat naturally upon her. Her 
extreme popularity induced the managers to 
request her to undertake such parts ; however, 
upon seeing how utterly opposed they were to 
her style of acting, they wisely refrained from 
soliciting any more exhibitions of the kind. She 
was now the leading comedy actress at Drury 
Lane, and after the year 1779 never acted in any 
other but this great national tlieatre, save for a 
few nights at Leeds and York in 1787-89, and a 
brief visit slicpaid to l)iiljlin,<lui ing I)aly's lua/i-ige- 
nu-nt «»f Snu»(k Alley. ()i"(lii.s lattir <;i;,Mpfii/i( /it, 
all lur biti^'iaj'IiriM .sav tliin- utv ii'» ]mi(i< ijl.>ir4 
i'Xt.iiit ; h'l I. tat llir r.||.»w iii^' \iiL»tiui nti.Mt. 

0«|iii«l t|.>|ii a f^ i.tji .,| alt ill<>li It) v%M|.,t.. f, IxLiiil.^' 


probably the only information to be had upon the 
subject : — 

" Miss Farren, having accomplished her engage- 
ment with our manager, has sailed for England, 
preparatoiy to her wmter engagement m London. 
Fame and fortune have most conspicuously accom- 
panied this celebrated actress on her trip to this 
country. To use a mercantile phrase, the nett 
proceeds of her voyage to Ireland exceeded 

In 1780, Miss Farren found a character admi- 
rably suited to her, in Cecilia, in Miss Lee's 
" Chapter of Accidents." The name was an appro- 
priate one in every sense of the word, so many 
a,cci(loiil8 occurred to I'otard its roprcsontation. 
Tlic authoress first offered it to Harris, of Co vent 
Garden, who treated her very badly about it. He 
said he woidd accept it on condition that she 
would make certain alterations ; she did so, and 
he then backed out of his agreement. She then 
sent it anonymously to Colman, who recognised 
its merit, and accepted it at once. But this 
Harris was an unprincipled man in every sense of 
the word, and Miss Lee was very fortunate to 
have got safely out of his clutches. The beautiful 

* This notice is in the possession of Mr. William Fan-en, Vaude- 
ville Theatre, to whose courtesy I am indebted for permission to 
copy it.— E. 0. B. 

VOL. I. Z 


— and stuttering — Mrs. Inchbald was not quite so 
fortunate ; for Harris made some gallant advances 
to her, from which she I'escued herself by tugging 
stoutly at his hair. When relating the assault 
she exclaimed : " If he had w-w-w-worn a w-w-wig, 
I w-w-was a ni-rn-ined w-woman." 

Sheridan was the manager of Drury Lane at this 
time ; and from some cause or other the treasury 
department was not in a very flourishing condition. 
This led to annoyances between the manager and 
the performers, and resulted in some of them going 
elsewhere. Mrs. Abingdon was one of the first to 
lead the exodus from Drury Lane. She and 
Sheridan quarrelled irreconcilably ; but the mana- 
ger was very wary, and it is ten chances to one 
but that he purposely picked a quarrel with her, in 
order to induce her to quit the theatre, and leave 
the field of comedy clear for the new star. Miss 
Elizabeth Farren. The latter must have been 
gratified by her rival's removal, for she now stood 
alone — the recognised first comedy actress of the 
company of the great national theatre. Moreover, 
it permanently relieved her from the necessity of 
playing utility parts, uncongenial to her attri- 

Mrs. Abingdon was one of the best Lady Teazles 
that ever trod the stage ; yet, immediately after 
her secession from Drury Lane, when Miss Farren 


played the same character, she was pronounced 
ahnost superior to her. The part had been origi- 
nally created by Mrs. Abingdon, who always — and 
justly — considered it her best character. But if 
she played it well. Miss Farren played it better ; 
and during the earlier part of the season 1782-83, 
the announcement of the part of Lady Teazle, by 
Miss Farren, never failed to draw a crowded 

But, later in the season, comedy was eclipsed 
by tragedy, for Sarah Siddons made her first 
appearance at Drury Lane in the character of 
Isabella, in " The Fatal Marriage." From that 
time forth, until her retirement thirty years after- 
ward.s, slic occupied the tragic throne without a 
rival. " She was, unquestionably, tlve greatest 
tragic actress that ever trod the stage in any age 
or country. Such personal and mental qualities 
were never combined in another. But she lacked 
versatility, and should never have trespassed on 
the realms of Thalia." 

Miss Farren had now been for several seasons 
acknowledged as the first comedy actress on the 
stage. Her private worth was no less known and 
respected than her brilliant public career was 
admired. During the London seasons all the chief 
families of distinction vied with each other in 
showing her every attention. It cannot be sup- 

z 2 


posed that so beautiful and attractive a woman 
was witliout many suitors ; but, despite the publi- 
city of her life, she was so guarded in her conduct 
that not one of them could boast of having been 
encouraged above the other. Charles James Fox 
may, perliaps, be excepted. He pursued her per- 
tinaciously, and she is said to have encouraged 
his attentions until she found they were liberal 
and anti-matrimonial. He was then at once dis- 
missed, and the Earl of Derby became Miss 
Farren's avowed admirer. She met this nobleman 
first at some private plays, which slie was invited 
to supervise, at the Duke of Richmond's town 
residence in Privy Gardens. In these peiform- 
ances the Earl of Derby, Lord Henry Fitzgerald, 
and the Honourable Mrs. Damer sustained the 
leading parts. The Earl of Derby was at this 
time married, but living separately from his wife. 
The cause of this arrangement it is now unneces- 
sary to conjecture. Suffice to say that such was 
the case ; and that it soon became whispered 
abroad that he and Miss Farren were conditionally 
engaged to each other, and that the marriage 
would take place as soon as circumstances per- 
mitted. Finally this engagement became publicly 
known ; but such was the rigid caution practised 
on both sides, that not a suspicion of scandal 
sullied the intimacy. Like Dean Swift and Stella, 


they never saw each other save in the presence of 
a thh'd pei-son. 

"These prospective arrangements," says a recent 
anonymous writer, "between enamoured ladies 
and gentlemen, depending on the life or death of 
an existing impediment or incumbrance, are by no 
means uncommon ; neither do the parties involved 
lose caste or estimation in the eyes of the world by 
being prepared for a possible contingency, should 
it. present itself. But is this precision quite in ac- 
cordance with high and pure principles of morality 
and reHgion ? A husband may not Hve with his 
wife, nor a wife with her husband, by mutual 
consent, without moral delinquency ; still they are 
legally and religiously joined until deatJi or the 
Divorce Court releases them. True, they may 
agree to hve apart on terms ; but be the motive of 
separation what it may, or the blame, if any, on 
one side or divided, it requires keen casuistry to 
determme that therefore A and C may lawfully 
arrange a future marriage, on the speculation that 
the intervening B will, some fine day, think 
proper to make a vacancy. This, viewed as a pure 
case of conscience, would form an interesting topic 
for the wisdom of the law lords, or the Consistorial 
Court, should either be able to find leisure for an 
abstract question." 

The foregoing is not a matter for us to attempt 


to decide. Circumstances alter cases, and the 
i-espect and esteem in which Miss Farren was lield 
in private Hfe, is a pretty good guarantee of what 
the society of the period thought of the engage- 
ment. In every possible way her lover proved 
the sincerity and honourable nature of his attach- 
ment, a feeling which she fully returned. The fol- 
lowing hues, written by the Earl of Derby, show 
the estimation in which he held her : — 


VVliilo ■woiiclcriug uagcla, wliilo tlioy looked IVom liigU, 

Obsorvcd thy absence, with a holy sigh, 

'I'd thoiu a bright othercal Horaph Haiil — 

" Blame uot the coiiduct of th' exalted maid ; 

Where'er she goes, her steps can never stray ; 

Religion walks, companion of her way ; 

She goes with every virtuous thought impressed, 

Heaven on her face, and heaven within her breast." 

At this period, there was concentrated in Drury 
Lane an array of dramatic talent which has never, 
before nor since, been the monopoly of a single 
theatre. There were Mrs. Siddons, Miss Ehzabeth 
Farren, Mrs. Jordan, Miss Pope, Mrs. Crouch, Mrs. 
Ward, and Mrs. Wilson amongst the ladies, all 
of whom were Irish by one or both parents, save 
Mrs. Siddons and Mrs. Wilson. Amongst the 
men were, John Kemble, the two Palmers, Thomas 
King, the younger Bannister, Parsons, Suett, 
Moody and Dodd. In the present day, there are 
so many theatres in London, that the talent is 


scattered. At that time there were but two 
jDrincipal theatres, and even they, with the amount 
of histrionic wealth which could ever be brought 
to support a performance, the manager was very 
often on the verge of bankruptcy. Here and 
there, m our own day, we occasionally find the 
public press crying out against managers for vitia- 
ting the public taste by spectacular dramas ; 
whereas, the sin really hes at the door of the 
jDublic. Even with such a company as that just 
named, and under the classic sceptre of John 
Kemble, Shakspeare was laid upon the shelf, and, 
in desperation, a play was produced in which horses 
and a white elephant were the chief performers ! 

In 1784 Miss Farron acted Julia JIardy, in a 
play called " lleparation." It was written by a 
gunpowder manufacturer of the name of Andrews, 
who, however, mtroduced nothing inflammable 
into his many plays, for they all hung fire. On the 
I7tli of May, in the same year, she played in 
Drydcn's " Amphitryon," with John Kemblo; and 
on the 24th of the same month spoke the address 
at Mrs. Bellamy's benefit, which has been akeady 
referred to in the memoir of that actress. 

From 178G, until her retirement m April, 1797, 
Miss Ehzabeth Farren continued to act at Drury 
Lane. She must have gone through enormous 
mental and physical labour dui'ing each theatrical 


season ; for the playbills show her never to have 
been absent from her post. She was a most con- 
scientious actress. She always rigidly adhered to 
the words of the author, and never spared either 
time or pains in trying fully to comprehend the 
author's conception of a character. Like Peg 
Woffington, she never refused to play for a benefit, 
and her urbanity and proverbially sweet disposi- 
tion endeared her to all connected with the 
theatre. But " chaste as ice, pure as snow ! Thou 
shalt not escape calumny !" was fulfilled even in the 
case of Miss Farren. It happened immediately 
after her marriage with the Earl of Derby, when a 
scurrilous pamphlet appeared, reflecting upon her 
womanly honour. It was,* however, successfully 
refuted, the only charge in this so-called " Life," 
that was established, being the poverty of her 

The first original part worthy of her genius that 
Miss Farren created was that of Lady Emily Gay- 
love, in General Burgoyne's comedy of " The 
Heiress." The cast comprised all the strength of 
the company, save Mrs. Siddons. The ])lay ran 
for thirty nights, and was pronounced the best 
comedy since "The School for Scandal" Mrs. 
Siddons and Miss Farren seldom had an oppor- 
tunity of acting together. Their walks were so 
distinct, that it was very unusual for both to be 


suited properly in tlie same play. But in May, 
1786, both actresses appeared together in "The 
Way to Keep Him," acted for the benefit of the 
Theatrical Fund. They also acted together for 
Kemble's benefit, as Belinda and Lady Restless, in 
" All in the Wrong." 

In 1787, and again in 1789, Miss Farren ac- 
cepted a short provincial engagement at Leeds and 
York during the race week. By command of the 
Prince of Wales, she played one night at the latter 
town, when the receipts were close on 200/., an 
enormous sum to have been taken, at that time, at 
any theatre out of London. 

Miss Farren did not often essay Shakspearian 
chara.ctcra. Tier Rosalind was universally com- 
mended, but she had so great an objection to what 
are technically called, in stage parlance, " breeches 
parts," that she at length ceased to appear in that 
character. In 1790 Kemble revived the "Tempest," 
altered by Dryden, and also with some interpola- 
tions of his own, for the rage for mutilating the 
immortal text was then in all its fury. Dryden 
had introduced an excrescence which he called 
Dorinda, and this fell to the lot of Miss Farren. 
To her credit be it spoken that it was her acting of 
this character — outrageous as was the introduction 
— which saved the play from being utterly con- 


In 1791* she took part in the last performance 
that was ever given at old Drury Lane. Whilst 
the new theatre was being built the company acted 
in the Opera House, in the Haymarket. Their 
first peifox'mance there was preceded by a prologue 
written by James Cobb, and called " Poor Old 
Drury. " It possessed considerable humour, and in 
it the actors are represented as speaking in their 
own proper persons. Unfortunately this prologue 
was considered so ephemeral that it never was 
printed, but the following is the traditional account 
of it ; — " Barrymore and Palmer began, and after 
lamenting the distresses of Wrighten, the prompter, 
gave a ludicrous description of the removal of the 
scenery from one house to the other. The ocean 
was washed away by a shower of rain, and the 
clouds were obliged to be transported under an 
umbrella. Alexander's triumphal car was smashed 
to pieces by a hackney coach at the corner of St. 
Martin's Lane ; and the jarvey, being blamed for 
the accident, msisted that he was on the right 
side, and that Mr. Alexander, if he pleased, might 
take his number 1 Wrighten next entered, be- 
wailing his embarrassments, and his departure 

* It was in this year that Walpole wrote to the Miss Berrys : — 
" I have had no letter from you these ten days, though the east 
wind has been as constant as Lord Derby, not to his wife, but to 
Miss Farren." 


from Old Druiy. He was called for by a dozen at 
a time, who required his instructions as to what 
they were to do. A comphment was here intro- 
duced to Miss Farren. The call-boy shouted out 
that Miss Farren wanted the prompter. ' That can't 
be !' exclaimed Wrighten. ' Everybody knows 
that Miss Farren never wants the prompter !' 

" Parsons then came on in a rage, and vowed he 
would never appear in comedy again. Tragedy was 
his vein, and the managers should not bully liim 
out of it, as he was determined to be heard. Here 
he roared aloud, and Phillimore from the gallery 
called to him not to strain his lungs in bellowing 
like a bull, as he could hear him perfectly well. 
The audjonce, not understanding tliis vviis a pait 
in the jDiece, hissed poor Phillimore, and cried 
* Throw him over !' for what they considered an 
impertinent interruption. Wewitzer, as a French 
dancing- master devoted to the classic models, pro- 
posed that, according to the rule of Monsieur 
Ddmosthcne, action should be chiefly regarded ; and 
therefore that while Parsons delivered the speech 
he, Wewitzer, should embody the sentiments by 
conformable gestures. Upon this prmciple he 
objected to the usual practice of starting at the 
entrance of tlie apparition, and msisted upon the 
propriety of bowing with grace and reverence, as 
Hamlet knows it to be the ghost of his papa ! 


This produced roars of laughter. Bland came in 
as an Italian singer, declaring that nothing but 
opej^a should be performed in that place ; and he 
and the French critic embraced fraternally and 
retired, observing that dancing and the ojoera 
should always go together, in contempt of sense 
and nature. Harlequin and his usual pantomimi- 
cal associates presented themselves, but were told 
by Wrighten that there would be no employment 
for them, as the sterling merit of the British drama 
would, for a season at least, be fully sufficient for 
tlie entertainment of a Bi-itish audience. Harle- 
quin lamented his dismission, but thought he 
would soon be wanted ; nevertheless he gave the 
audience a parting proof of his magic power. He 
struck the scene, which rose, and formed a view 
of Mount Parnassus, with Apollo and other my- 
thological deities. The Muses appeared in suc- 
cession, and the prelude concluded with a grand 

The new theatre in Drury Lane was opened on 
the 12th of March, 1794, when there was per- 
formed a grand selection of Handel's music, com- 
mencing with the Coronation Anthem. The new 
building was erected at a cost of 129,000/., and was 
the finest that had been built in the British 
dominions. " Macbeth" and " The Virgin Un- 
masked" were the first dramatic performances 


wliich took place there ; and it was upon this 
occasion that John Keinble, who played Macbeth^ 
tried the effect of an empty chair, instead of the 
time-honoured ghost of Banquo. But the pit and 
gallery objected to the omission, clamoured for their 
pet spectre, and carried the day. Miss Farren 
spoke the epilogue, in which she assured the 
audience that they need be in no dread of fire, as 
they liad water enough in the theatre to drown them 
all at a moment's notice. The scene then shifted, 
and showed a real lake on the stage, with a boat in 
which was a man who rowed it to and fi'o, whilst 
the band played, " And did you not hear of a jolly 
young waterman." Then an iron curtain de- 
scended, leaving Miss Farren between it and tlie 
footlights. She informed the audience that should 
fire break out on the stage it would be thus shut 
out from the spectators : — 

No ; we assure you, generous benefactors, 
'Twill only burn the scenery and the actors. 

Despite all these precautions, new Dj-ury Lane 
was burnt to the ground in February, 1809, just 
fifteen years after its erection. There were sus- 
picions of foul play, but this has never been proved. 
Druiy Lane the Third now rears its stately head 
upon the same site ; let us hope it may be saved 
from the fate of its predecessor. 

For several seasons more we find Miss Elizabeth 


Farren yet steadily and brilliantly pursuing her 
profession. Little is known concerning her life at 
this period. From the playbills may be gleaned a 
list of the characters wliich she played. As Emily 
Tempest, in " The Wheel of Fortune," she held up 
John Kemble's train in 1795, and played Helen to 
his Edivard Mortimer, in " The Iron Chest," in 
which — from the combined effects of opium and 
asthma — he signally failed. During the following 
two seasons — 1796-97 — Miss Farren and John 
Kemble played Valentine and Angelica, in " Love 
for Love ;" Falkland and Jidia, in " The Rivals ;" 
Lord and Lady Townly, in " The Provoked Hus- 
band ;" and in many other characters. 

And now the time was rapidly approaching 
when the brilliant actress was to reap tlie reward 
of her constancy to her lover. On the 14th of 
March, 1797, died the Countess of Derby ; and, in 
less than two months after her death, her place 
was filled by Miss Elizabeth Farren. Some have 
characterised this as indecent haste, but, virtually, 
the Countess had been dead to her husband for 
many years, so that any semblance of regret at the 
severance of the legal tie would have been sheer 
affectation. On the 8th of April, exactly one 
month before her wedding-day. Miss Farren took 
her leave of the stage, selecting for her farewell her 


famous character of X(2f/y I'eazle.^ Tlie cast was 
a powerful and a memorable one : — 

Lady Teazle... 
Sir Peter 
Charles Surface 
Joseph Surface 
Mrs. Candour 

Miss Elizabeth Farren. 

Mr. King. 

Mr. Wrougtiton. 

Mr. Charles Kemble. 

Mr. John Palmer. 

Mr. Suett. 

Miss Pope. 

At first Miss Farren seemed in good spirits; but 
as the play proceeded her emotion became apparent 
to the audience. It was witli the utmost difficulty 
she delivered her concluding speech to Lady 
Sneenoell : — ■ 

''Let me also request that you will make my 
compliments to the scandalous college of which you 
arc pi'osidctit, and inform tlicm tliat Lady Teazle, 
Licentiate, begs leave to return the diploma they 
granted her, as she leaves off practice, and kills 
characters no longer." As she concluded, she burst 
into tears. Amidst the applause of the audience, 
King led her forward, whilst Wroughton spoke 
the following lines which were written for the 
occasion, and added to the " tag": — 

* " I recollect (not the admirable acting in the famous screen 
scene, but) the circumstance of seeing Lord Derby leaving his 
private box to creep to her (Miss Farren) behind the screen, and of 
course we all looked with impatience for the discovery, hoping the 
screen would fall a little too soon, and show to the audience Lord 
Derby as well as Lady Teazle." — Vide Miss Wynne's "Diary of a 
Lady of QuaUty." 


But ah ! this night adieu the joyoua mien, 

When Mirth's loved favourite quits the mimic scene ! 

Startled Thalia would the assent refuse, 

But TrtUh and Virtue sued, and won the Muse. 

Awed by sensations it could ill express, 

Though mute the tongue, the bosom feels not less ; 

Her speech your kind indulgence oft has known. 

Be to her silence now that kindness shown ; 

Ne'er from her mind th' endeared record will part. 

But live, the proudest feeling of a grateful heart. 

On the 8th of May, 1797, following, Miss Eliza- 
beth Farren was married to the Earl of Derby, 
and was in due time presented at Court, where she 
was received by lloyalty with every mark of 
esteem. To show her respect for tlic Countess of 
Derby's private worth, as well also as to silence 
some lying and libellous stories which were afloat 
concerning her, Queen Charlotte selected her to 
make one in the procession at the marriage of the 
Princess Hoyal. 

She was always a favourite at Court, and one 
evening, many years after her marriage, was on 
her way to Windsor to spend the Christmas there 
right royally ; but on the journey the carriage 
broke down, and the servants were in distress. 
Just then a carriage, occupied by a good-natured 
looking elderly gentleman, drove up. He offered 
the Countess a seat in his vehicle, which she gladly 
accepted, as he said that he also was on his way 
to Windsor Castle. 

" I have been thinking of old times, my Lady 


Countess, upon this Christmas Eve," said the 
Lord Chief Justice of England, " and am scarcely 
surprised to meet you. How many years is it 
since I stood at my father's shop-door in Salisbury, 
and watched your perilous passage over the market- 
place with a bowl of milk V 

" Not so long, at all events," she answered, with 
a smile, " but that I recollect my poor father 
would have lost his breakfast but for your 

" The time is not long for memory," replied the 
judge, " nor is Sahsbury as far from Windsor as 
Dan is from Beersheba, yet how wide the distance 
between tlie breakfast at the cage-door in Salisbury 
and the Christmas dinner to which we are botli 
proceeding at the palace of the King I" 

The Countess of Derby had three children — the 
eldest, a son, who lived to be Seventeen ; a 
daughter, who died at the age of ten ; and a second 
daughter, the late Countess of Wilton. In private 
as well as in professional life no one was more 
respected than Elizabeth Farren, Countess of 
Derby. She Hved many years to enjoy her 
honours, and died, at the age of seventy, on the 
29th of April, 1829. The Earl survived her but a 
few years. 

VOL. I. A A 


Born, a.d. 1775. Died, a.d. 1803. 

RBTS INT A Cr^"— the city of Waterford— 
has given to the stage two of its most dis- 
tinguished comedy actresses, Kitty Clive 
and Dorotliy Jordan. But anotlier acti-css fi'om 
the maiden city claims a pkxce upon the roll of 
histrionic fame — and the robes of Melpomene, as 
yet unworn by an Irishwoman, never clothed a 
more fitting subject than Maria Campion. She is 
one of the very few actresses who have risen to 
eminence in their profession, yet concerning 
whose private life little or nothing is known. In 
1798 she married Mr. Pope, a widower, whose 
first wife. Miss Younge, had also been celebrated 
as an actress. 

Maria Campion was born in Waterford, in 1775, 
where her fixther, who was a respectable merchant, 
died when she was yet but a child, leaving a wife 
and two daughters totally unprovided for. Some 
relatives, seeing the destitute condition of the 
widow and orphans, came forward and offered to 


take charge of Maria, the eldest girl. She was, 
even then, studious and thoughtful, and — consi- 
dermg the scarcity of books at the time — very 
well read for her age. She was particularly fond 
of dramatic literature, and an old volume of 
Shakspeare was her constant companion and 

At this time the Waterford Theatre held no 
inconsiderable rank amongst provincial playhouses. 
Companies from Smock Alley not infrequently 
went there for a season. Daly, one of the best 
of provincial managers, often took his company to 
Waterford ; and upon one occasion, when they 
played " The Orphan" there, Maria Campion 
witnessed the performance whicii sealed her fate. 
It was the first time she had ever been in a 
theatre, and her awed delight and admu'ation 
knew no bounds. Upon her return home, the 
house rang with the sighs of Jlfoiiiinia ; she could 
tallt of nothing else ; and nothing could induce 
her to swerve from her fixed determination to 
become a tragic acti'ess. 

Her friends endeavoured to procure for her an 
interview with Daly, the Dublin manager. But 
the great man was not to be approached so easily. 
He objected to having an interview with a "stage- 
struck child," and handed her over to Hitchcock, 
the staofe-manncrer. Hitchcock was kind-hearted, 

A A 2 


shrewd, and clear-headed, and one of the best 
dramatic judges of his own or any other day. He 
saw the girl, listened to her tale, said she was a 
fine promising child, hnt much too young to think 
of entering so difficult a profession. She was 
bitterly disappointed, and as the stage-managor 
was about to depart, she seized him by the coat 
and exclaimed imploringly — 

" Oh ! sir ! but hear me !" 

Hitchcock started. He had had as great an 
experience as any manager living of would-be 
dramatic stars, but, as he afterwards admitted, 
never before had he heard sucli intense, untutored 
pathos as in these few words. The stage-manager 
sat down whilst the girl recited some passages 
from "The Orphan." He was more than charmed 
with her ; he prophesied great things for her, gave 
her some good advice, and promised her that, 
next season, he would give her a trial upon the 
Dublin stao^e. 

Accordingly, in 1792, she made her first ap- 
pearance in the character of Monimia, in ".The 
Orphan." It was an important part for a first 
attempt, and the youthful actress was so nervQus, 
that when she first went on her terrors so over- 
whelmed her that she fainted in the stage- 
manager's arms. However, her appearance had 
prepossessed the audience in her favour, and she 


was called for with entliiisiastic acclamations. Her 
first speech was listened to with much attention. 
She delivered it with so much tenderness, and with 
an amount of feeling so conformable to the cha- 
racter, that the applause was redoubled. Thus 
encouraged, she went brilhantly through the whole 
play, and that first night stamped Maria Campion's 
reputation as a tragic actress. 

For several seasons she acted at the Dublin 
Theatre, jDlaying Juliet, Desdemona, and other 
Shakspearian heroines, together with characters 
in many of the old stock tragedies. She became 
the recognised tragic actress of the Irish stage, 
and sometimes gave her services at the Fishamble 
Street Theatre, then flourishing under Jones's 
management. From Dublm she went to York, 
whither her fame had already spread, and drew 
crowded houses. She was equally well received 
at Liverpool, and returned to Dublin with in- 
creased reputation. 

About this time Lewis, the comedian, saw her 
act in "The Orphan," and was so struck with 
her powers that he recommended her to the 
management of Covent Garden. She was imme- 
diately engaged for her favourite character of 
Monimia, and m 1797 made her debut in London. 
She charmed her metropolitan no less than her 
provincial audiences. Cordelia, Indiana, Jane 


Shore, and Juliet were amongst her most successful 
representations, and her appearance was always 
hailed with marks of the highest approbation. 
Of her Juliet, a contemporary critic says : — 

" It is one of the most interesting we ever 
saw. The delusion of the scene is not necessary 
to make us fancy her the very character the author 
designed to exhibit ; but her feeling, her delicacy, 
her animation, where the part required it, are 
above all praise. The scene in which she 
swallows the poison was never executed witli more 
judgment ; but there were other excellences 
which our limits will not allow us to notice. 1'he 
vindication of her lord's conduct, * Blistered be 
thy tongue !' to the nurse ; • and the majestic 
contempt with which she treats her when she 
discovers the selfishness of her motives, ' Amen ! 
Amen !' together with all the scenes with Romeo, 
were admirable. Indeed, the whole performance 
is so full of beauties and so free from defects that 
we are not surprised at the play's having run 
eight nights already, without the attraction of a 
new dress, scene, dirge, procession, or any otiier 
adventitious circumstance whatever." 

In private life Miss Campion was distinguished 
for her amiability and unassuming manners. In 
1798 she married Mr. Pope, a respectable actor, 
who never rose much above mediocrity. She 


continued to act after her marriage, and on July 
10th, 1803, played Desdemona, at Covent Garden, 
for Cooper's benefit. When about half-way 
through the performance she was taken suddenly 
ill, and Mrs. Ansdell was obliged to take her 
place and finish the part. Mrs. Pope was imme- 
diately taken home, but for some days no fears 
were entertained of any fatal termmation to her 
illness. On the 18tli, however, as she was seated 
on a sofa talking to a friend, she suddenly fell 
upon the floor, and upon being raised up exj^ired 
without a word or a struggle in a few moments. 
The Gentleman s Magazine for the same year gives 
the following account of her death : — 

" On examination by a surgeon it was found 
her disorder was apoplectic, brought on, it is 
supposed, by exertion and anxiety in her pro- 
fession. Some of the veins in the head had burst, 
and occasioned her death. The public will no 
doubt deeply regret the loss of an actress who has 
so much delighted them by the spirit, feeling, and 
judgment with which she performed. Her friends 
in private life will equally lament the early death 
of an amiable companion. Her remains were 
interred in Westminster Abbey on the 25th, near 
those of the former Mrs. Pope (late Miss Younge)." 

At the time of her death Maria Pope was only 
in her twenty- eighth year, and had been but ten 


years before the public. Her career during her 
short but brilliant life was earnest of greater 
tilings to come. Had Death spared her, there is 
reason to believe that even to her great country- 
woman, Miss O'Neill, she would scarcely have 
stood second in the ranks as a tragic actress. 


Born, a.d. 1791. Dimd, a.d. 1872. 

BOUT the very time when Maria Campion 
suppUcated Hitchcock, the stage-manager 
of the DubUn Theatre, to allow her to 
recite before him, another provincial stage-manager 
— who found it very hard to keep the wolf from the 
door — was one day saluted with the news that unto 
liim was a child born. 

A baby-daughter, born, apparently, to squalor, 
to indigence, and to that fight for bare existence 
which was then an attendant upon the career of a 
strolling player. Moreover, they were troublous 
times in Ireland at this period, and it can scarcely 
be supposed that the stage-manager of the little 
theatre in Drogheda felt particularly rejoiced at 
the prospect of having another mouth to feed. 

Under such circumstances did the future great 
tragic actress make her first appearance upon the 
stage of Life. Like her famous contemporary, 
Kean, she was nursed in indigence. Her educa- 


tion was neglected, for tlie profits of a provincial 
actor — never very great — were then very scanty, 
and she had no opportunity of early and careful 
training. Often might little Eliza O'Neill be seen 
running barefoot through the dirty, steep, narrow 
streets of Drogheda, passing to and from the 
humble school where she received the only in- 
struction she ever had in her hfe. She had soon 
to commence to work for her living. When yet 
but a very little girl her father used to introduce 
her in juvenile parts, so that she became early 
accustomed to appear before the footlights. Her 
first juvenile character was as the little son of 
King Edward, the young Duke of Yoj^k, which 
she played to her father's Duke of Glo'ster, in 
" Richard III." Her performance excited a good 
deal of admiration, and the juvenile prodigy was 
no small attraction to the theatre. When about 
twelve she was put into more important parts, and 
such was the opinion of her talent that she was 
offered an engagement by Mr. Talbot, the lessee 
of the Irish Northern Circuit. Eliza O'Neill 
speedily became a favourite with the company 
and with her audiences, and remained with Mr. 
Talbot for between two and three years. 

Her engagement with Jones, of the Crow Street 
Theatre, Dublin, was due in some measure to an 
accident. When returning from her provincial 


tour, in company with her father and brother, on 
their way to Drogheda, they were obhged to stay 
for the night at an hotel in Dubhn. On this very 
day the manager of the Crow Street Theatre was 
in a dilemma. His principal actress, Miss Wal- 
stein, who had been announced for the part of 
Juliet, refused to appear without an increase of 
salary. The story is thus told by the garrulous 
Mike Kelly :— 

" Miss Walstein, who was the heroine of the 
Dublin stage, and a great and deserved favourite, 
was to open the theatre in the character of Juliet. 
Mr. Jones received an intimation from Miss Wal- 
stein that, without a certain increase of salary and 
otlicr privileges, bIio would not come to the house. 
Mr. Jones had arrived at the determination to shut 
up his theatre sooner than submit to what he 
thought an unwarrantable demand, when MacNally, 
the box-keeper, who had been the bearer of Miss 
Walstein 's message, told Mr. Jones that it would 
be a pity to shut up the house ; that there was a 
remedy, if Mr. Jones chose to avail himself of it. 
' The girl, sir,' said he, ' who has been so often 
recommended to you as a promising actress, is now 
at an hotel in Dublin, with her father and brother, 
where they have just arrived, and is proceeding to 
Drogheda to act in her father's theatre there. I 
have heard it said by persons who have seen her 


that she plays Juliet extremely well, and is very 
young and very pretty. I am sure that she 
would be delighted to have the opportunity of 
appearing before a Dublin audience, and, if you 
please, I will make her the proposal.' The pro- 
posal was made and accepted, and on the following 
Saturday ' the girl,' who was Miss O'Neill, made 
her debut on the Dublin stage as Juliet. The 
audience was delighted ; she acted the part several 
nights, and Mr. Jones offered her father and 
brother very liberal terms, which were thankfully 

The Irish Dramatic Censor of the time repeatedly 
mentions Miss O'NeHl's performances. The notices 
are, in many instances, rather lengthy ; but it 
would be unfair to omit them in any memoir of 
this actress, as they present so faithfully the cur- 
rent opinion respecting her powers at the time. 

"Oct. 10th. — Miss O'Neill's first appearance. 
None of the gentlemen who support this publica- 
tion attended, mistakingly imagining that it would 
be one of those first appearances with which the 
town has been so repeatedly nauseated." 

"Oct. 12th.— 

" Romeo and Juliet. JULIET, Miss O'Neill. 

"We have seen Juliet played by as good, but 
never by so young an actress. Of course she must 


(for some years to come, at least) stand unrivalled 
in such cliaracters." 

" Oct. 28tli. — TiMouR THE Tartar — The great 
object deserving critical attention is Zorilda — the 
Zorilda of Miss O'Neill. A young actress has 
burst as suddenly as unexpectedly upon the town, 
who appears to be gifted by Nature with every 
rich requisite necessary to place her at the head, of 
her profession. The figure of this young lady is 
fascinating to the highest degree of interest ; her 
voice — 

Sweet as the warbling of the vernal wood — 

is rich, powerful, melodious ; her delineation 
of character is correct (far beyond her yea,rs). 
No studied inflection— no artificial pauses. Not 
one tragic scream has yet gi-ated on the i)ublic 
ear, nor has a face, tlio lines of which are capable 
of every delicate feminine expression, been worked 
up into the forced contortions of horror or the 
unnatural convulsions of demoniac fury — such is 
Miss O'Neill — such was the representative of 

" Charlotte JRusport has been so exquisitely per- 
formed by the Abingdon, Miss Farren (now 
Countess of Derby), and oiu' own inimitable Mrs. 
Daly (nor should we totally forget Mrs. Edwin 
in the part), that it becomes an effort of much 
hazard for a young actress, and more particularly 


SO juvenile a one as Miss O'Neill, to undertake the We cannot say lier success was com- 
plete ; we cannot say that she wholly failed. But 
it is the Tragic Music (unless we are most 
eo-reo-lously mistaken) that will one day crown 
this charming young actress with never-dying 

" Miss O'Neill, in our opinion, made too much of 
the romp of Lady Teazle. Her penitential speeches 
were, however, given in a manner equal, perhaps 
justice almost demands we should say, superior, to 
anything ever hefore seen or licard in tlie pait. 
But when once the actress has attained this point 
of the character, there should be an end to all her 
ladyship's levity. It is true the author has given 
her one or two short sentences which rather savour 
of it ; but would they not be much better omitted 
altogether 1 Miss O'Neill's itjlwle agitation of frame, 
when the screen was thrown down, wa,s fine — it 
was superior acting." 

What an acute and admirable criticism upon the 
character is the foregoing ! The performance 
of an old play, called "1'he Foundling of the 
Forest," gave rise to the following critique : — 

" Miss O'Neill is too juvenile a figure to per- 
sonate the unknown female ; but all that was 
possible, under such circumstances, to achieve, she 
did ; her pathos made us frequently forget the im- 


possibility of lier being mother to the elder Farren. 
Less studied, less scientific than Miss Smith, but 
far more natural and affecting, the art of the 
actress and the figure of the woman must decide 
in favour of the one ; but anguish personified, 
and sighs and tears untutored, put m a ca- 
veat, eveJi against aiipeai^ances, in favour of the 

Omittmg many minor, and invariably favourable, 
criticisms, we come to the first mention of her 
Ophelia : — 

" Considering the arduous situation in which 
Miss O'Neill was placed, as the successor of Miss 
Walstein in Ophelia, she far exceeded our expecta- 
tions : a more interesting representative of the 
character never appeared before an audience. 
Modest and unassuming, lovely in appearance, and 
eminently successful in those points of the pathetic 
which are the great adornments of the character, 
it would be unfair to draw any invidious parallel 
between her singing and the high and universally 
acknowledged vocal powers which distinguished 
her predecessor. To king, however, the whole of 
the performance into our view, it was such as 
warrants us in declaring the hitherto increasing 
reputation of the actress suffered no abatement 
whatever by her performance of Ophelia^ Further 
on, the same critic says : — " Miss O'Neill is rapidly 


transforming, or rather forming, herself into the first 
actress on the stage." 

The Dramatic Censor abounds with many other 
well-weighed and favourable notices of Miss 
O'Neill's acting. It was about this time that Lord 
William Lennox, then a mere lad, was introduced 
to her. In after years he wrote as follows con- 
cerning the charming actress : — 

" At this period Miss O'Neill was about twenty- 
one years of age ; she was loveliness personified ; 
her voice was the perfection of melody; her manner 
graceful, impassioned, irresistible. Inferior to Mrs. 
Siddons in dignity and in depicting the more 
terrible and stormy passions of human nature, she 
excelled that great mistress of the histrionic art in 
tenderness and natural pathos. In Lady Macbeth^ 
Constance, Volwnnia, Margaret of Anjou, and Lady 
Randolph, the Siddons was unrivalled ; while 
O'Neill in her matchless representation of feminine 
tenderness, as Juliet, Belvi/Jera, L^abella, and Mrs. 
Ilaller, was faultless ; and this reminds me of an 
anecdote of Byron, who was some few years after- 
wards so jealous of Miss O'Neill's reputation inter- 
fering with that of his favourite, Edmund Kean, 
that in order to guard himself against the risk of 
becoming a convert, he refused to go and see her 
act. Tom Moore endeavoured sometimes to per- 
suade him into witnessing at least one of her per- 


formances, but his answer was (punning ujDon 
Shakspeare s word " unannealed"), " No, I'm re- 
solved to continue un-0'Neiled."* 

Miss O'Neill next played the character of Ellc?i, 
in "The Lady of the Lake," and subsequently 
Ja7ie Shore. She also essayed genteel comedy, in 
which she was most successful, but her forte 
evidently lay in tragedy. Mrs. Siddons and Mrs. 
Pope had passed away, and the throne of tragedy 
was untenanted. No queen reigned there ; but 
many who saw the young Irish actress, the next 
season, in the tra.gedy of "Adelaide, or The 
Emigrants," adjudged her worthy to fill the vacant 
throne. The play was written especially for her 
by Richard Lalor Sliiel, and her rci)resentation of 
the chief character much enhanced her professional 

Her private life was irreproachable. She was a 
most industrious student of her art, and tried to 
make amends for her want of early education. 
Miss O'Neill — with that indomitable perseverance 
which ever characterised her — applied diligently 
to the task of perfecting herself in all the technical 
requirements of her profession. To the study 
of gesture and manne]- did she especially devote 
her attention, puttmg herself under the tuition of 

* Vide " Celebrities I liave Known," vol. i. p. 208. 
VOL. I. B B 


the most famous teacher of theatrical dancing and 
gesture then in Dublin — Mr. Henry Garbois. A 
provincial tour succeeded Miss O'Neill's Dublin en- 
gagement. "The great London actor," John Kemble, 
was at this time starring it through Ireland, and 
the young actress often had the honour of acting 
with him. She was everywhere enthusiastically 
received, for the fame of her Juliet had preceded 
her. In Limerick and Cork her reception exceeded 
her most sanguine hopes. She received something 
more tangible than vociferous applause, for on her 
benefit nights in each of these cities the theatres 
were crammed from floor to ceiling ; and on one 
occasion the receipts exceeded five hundred pounds. 
John Kemble — who was even a better business 
man than he was an actor — was not slow to appre- 
ciate her talents ; but — probably with the recol- 
lection of his illustrious sister fresh in liis mind — 
he was not especially enthusiastic in his admiration 
of Miss O'Neill. He was not particularly affected 
towards Miss Walstein, who, in a fit of jealousy, 
had left the Dublin boards, and was almost a 
failure in London. Kemble remembered this, and, 
taking a very business-like view of Miss O'Neill's 
talents, wrote thus to the London management : — 
" Tliere is a very pretty Irish girl here, with a 
small touch of the brogue on her tongue. She 
has much quiet talent, and some genius. With a 


little expense, and some trouble, we might make 
her ' an object' for John Bull's admiration in the 
juvenile tragedy. They call her here ('tis in verse 
— for they are all poets, all Tom Moores here) the 
'Dove,' in contradistinction to Miss Walstein, 
whom they designate as the 'Eagle.' I recom- 
mend the ' Dove' to you, as more lil^ely to please 
John Bull than the Irish ' Eagle,' who is, in fact, 
merely a Siddons diluted, and would only be 
tolerated when Siddons is forgotten." 

The London managers acted upon the advice of 
John Kemble, and offered the young Irish actress 
an engagement at Drury Lane for three years. 
She accepted their terms, which were fifteen, six- 
teen, and seventeen pounds per week ; and was at 
once announced to play the part of Juliet, on 
October Gtli, 1814. There have been many success- 
ful first appearances, but the debut of Eliza O'Neill 
on the London stage is recorded as the most bril- 
liant to be found in theatrical annals. At the end 
of the first act the audience were enthusiastic, 
and at the termination of the play their frantic 
admiration was almost uncontrollable. Accorduig 
to the prevalent custom then, the manager came 
before the curtain, and announced the comedy of 
" The Merry Wives of Wmdsor," for the next 
evening:. But he was assailed with cries of 
" No ! no ! — ' Bomeo and Juliet' " — and so, in de- 

B B 2 


ference to public opinion, " E-omeo and Juliet" it 

Fame and fortune were now in Miss O'Neill's 
grasp. The managers at once increased her salary 
to thirty pounds a week, and she shared the 
2:)laudits of the town with Edmund Kean. Mrs. 
Siddons was powerful and awe-inspiring, Miss 
O'Neill was powerful and full of sweetness. Her 
success is in no small degree to be attributed to 
the judgment which she invariably displayed in 
lier selection of characters, as the following, copied 
from an autograph letter of her own, will demon- 
strate : — 

" Olarges Street, Saturday. 

"My dear Mr. Harris, — You must be con- 
vinced of my readiness to oblige you, and my 
great repugnance to refuse any character in wliich 
I could appear without destroying the reputation 
I have gained. I therefore trust that you will 
yield to my wishes of not performing * Mary- 
Stewart.' I have again read it with the greatest 
attention, and wish (if possible) to accept it, but I 
find that it is out of my power to make a single 
eflPect in it. With this impression you will not, T 
trust, any further press it upon me. 

"You say that you have yielded to me in four 
characters : Lady Teazle, Lady Uesiless, Iforatia, 
and But/and. You forget that it was my intention 


(by the advice of all who were interested in my 
welfare) to act the part of Lady Teazle (my first 
appearance in comedy) for my own benefit, which 
was sure to have (from the novelty, if nothing else) 
the desired effect, but I gave the character to you 
with pleasure, and acted in it, I think, fifteen or 
sixteen nights. Lady Restless I declined, from my 
fear of acting it ill, as you know I never wished to 
appear in comedy, except on one night m the 
season, perhaps for my benefit ; but I consented to 
your wishes as you seemed to think it would be 
for your mterest, and by so doing I find myself 
the comic actress of the theatre, or if engaged in 
tragedy, in a character m which it is impossible to 
make Lho slightest inipression. 

" Believe me, it ever was, and still is, my earnest 
wish to do all in my power to forward the interests 
of Covent Garden, but I cannot entirely sacrifice 
my feelings (nor can I think that you should wish 
I should) by appearing nightly before a pubUc, to 
whom I owe so much, and towards whom I feel so 
grateful, m characters in which there is not one 
opportunity for dischargmg what I think but my 

" If you wish, I will try what I can do with 
Horatia, if you have nothmg better in the meantime. 
" Beheve me most sincerely yours, 

"E. O'Neill." 


Edmund Kean begged of lier to play Lady 
Macbeth to his Macbeth, but she steadily refused 
to do so, being conscious that her powers were 
inadequate to it. She was perfectly aware that 
she lacked the terrible intensity necessary to give 
a true rendering of the character. Save Mrs. 
Siddons, no actress has ever yet properly inter- 
preted it. Some of the critics of her day did 
Miss O'Neill much unintentional harm by declaring 
her to be the rival of Mrs. Siddons. She never 
was so in any sense of the word. She never 
essayed the grandeur, the gloom, the solenniity, 
the intensity of passion which characterised the 
great sister of the Kembles. Miss O'Neill's line 
was altogether different — hers was the emotional, 
loving, sweet, tender, and sad. One great secret 
of her success lay in her intense sensitiveness and 
earnestness. She felt whatever she portrayed, 
and cried bitterly during her tragic scenes.'^ Like 
her great fellow-artiste, Kean, she founded her 
style above all things on Nature. She discarded 
altogether the rigid traditions of the school of 
John Kerable, and distracted many a faithful and 
pedantic old actor by the unexpected and irre- 

* But two actresses of the present day possess, in any eminent 
degree, these atti-ibutes of intense sensitiveness and earnestness — 
Mrs. Hermann Vezin and Miss Carlisle— the latter not as well 
known as she deserves to be. 


pressible impulses which she allowed herself to 
obey when true emotion prompted her.' Her 
voice was exquisitely modulated to express all 
the various moods of love, and sympathy, and 
sorrow : as Kemble said of her, in liis elabo- 
rately moderate way, *' It is not given to Miss 
O'Neill to astonish, but she never fails to de- 
liglit ; at all events, she is always equal to the 
occasion. " 

As a great tragic actress — in her own peculiar 
line — Miss O'Neill is chiefly remembered ; never- 
theless, her essays in comedy were very respect- 
able, and deserve more than a passmg notice. On 
tlie 10th of March, 1816, she made her first 
appearance in comedy in London as Lady Teazle. 
Owing to her previous success in tragedy, this 
first performance in high comedy was looked 
forward to with much interest. But Miss O'Neill 
passed triumphantly through the ordeal, and was 
enthusiastically received. She afterwards per- 
formed The Widow Cheerly, Mrs. Oakley, and Lady 
Townly. Her favourite comedy character was that 
of Mrs. Haller, in " The Stranger," in which she 
made her first appearance with John Kemble, who 
was so bad with the gout that he had to be led 
to the wmgs. The following letter shows what 
was the current opinion of Miss O'Neill's Mr-s. 
Ilaller : — 


Woburn Abbey, Nov. 15th, 1813. 

" My dear Sir, — A friend of mine, who luxs not 
been in town for some years, and may not be 
there again for a length of time, is anxious to see 
the first actress in my opinion that ever did or ever 
will appear, and I am desirous of contributing to 
his amusement by taking him to our box next 
week. He is to be with me at Canterbury 
Monday, and I am most desirous of knowing 
a Cabinet Secret, if you will tell me — that is, what 
day Miss O'Neill plays in the next week, and if 
she plays Mrs. Ilaller ? If it is settled, and if you 
will confide so important a secret to me, I will 
take care that none of those sub-committee fellows 
of Drury Lane shall know it. I return home 
Friday, therefore any letter directed to Canterbury 
will find me. 

" Yours very faithfully, Epex. 

"P.S. — You must make me known some day to 
Miss O'Neill ; no one can rate her transcendent 
talents higher than / do, who have remembered all, 
from Siddons to CNedl."* 

For her benefit she played Maria, in " The 
Citizen," in which she sang and danced so charm- 
ingly that her audience were in doubt as to 
which had the better claim to the fascinatinor 
actress, Thalia or Melpomene. 

* Vide Additional MSS., British Museum MS. Eoom. 


Miss O'Neill had now been five years at Covent 
Garden, acting there every season. She amassed 
a considerable fortune, and, to her credit be it 
spoken, she gave An independence to her aged 
parents. Her brothers she also helped in their 
careers. The eldest, John O'Neill, through her 
interest, received a colonial appointment m Canada, 
but died on the voyage there. Her second brother, 
Robert O'Neill, became a pupil of the celebrated 
surgeon, Mr. Wilson, but met with an accidental 
death ; whilst the youngest, Charles O'Neill, 
received a commission in the army. 

When we look back and read of the brilhant 
provincial society of Kilkenny at the beginning of 
this century, it may well bo said that the glory 
has departed from Ireland. A sort of provincial 
court was kept up at Ormonde Castle, and the 
noble house of Butler was also famous for its 
convivial hospitality. Kilkenny had its " season" 
then as well as Dublin, which lasted for six weeks 
in winter and two in summer. The first week 
was devoted to the theatre, and the second to 
hunt>y-ig, racing, and balls. There was a private 
theatre at Kilkenny at this time, wherein the 
gentlemen amateurs of the company used to 
subscribe and engage the best actresses from 
London and Dublin. The price was the same to 
pit and boxes — viz., six shillings and eleven pence 
for each ticket, and the proceeds were always 


given to charity. Large sums were realised at 
these performances, as the country gentry used to 
come from far and near to witness them. In one 
of her letters Miss Maria Edgeworth records her 
delight at having been taken to the Kilkenny 
Theatre, and her surprise at the excellence of the 

These private theatricals were first inaugurated 
in Kilkenny in 1802, when the theatre was 
opened with a prologue written by Mr. Tighe, 
who also took part in the performance. These 
were the palmy days of Kilkenny, when the town 
was thronged by the leaders of the Irish aris- 
tocracy, and lodgings were at a premium. At 
the Castle, the Butlers dispensed splendid Irish 
hospitality, the grand suppers after the theatricals 
being one of the chief attractions of the season. 
Rank, wit, beauty, and literature were well repre- 
sented there. Thomas Moore was a welcome 
guest always, and in 1809 wrote and spoke an 
epilogue at the opening of the season. In 1812, 
just as Miss O'Neill was beginning to show 
promise of her great talents, she acted Belinda 
at the Kilkenny Theatre. 

Amongst these gentlemen amateurs Mr. Wrixon- 
Beecher was distinguished, not alone for the 
excellence but for the originality of his acting. 
Ladies also gave their aid, and Mrs. John Power 
wrote the prologue for the opening of the season 


of 1818. The following extract from it shows that 
the lady inherited the talent as well as the blood 
of the Bushes and Grattans : — 

Oh ! much-lovod Erin, would thy sons who roam. 

Exert their talents, nor dcsi^ise their homo ; 

Then might this isle, deformed, and sunk in fame, 

With other nations proudly rank her name. 

Has not their genius shone through foreign climes, 

In Wellington — the wonder of our times P 

To him united Europe trust the sword, 

To draw or sheathe it, as he gives the word. 

With pride old Leinster sent her warrior forth, 

Renowned in arms, beloved for private worth. 

What names more high than Pack among the brave. 

Or Ponsonby, just rescued from the grave ? 

Boast we not Grattan's high, unsullied name — 

Our truest patriot in the list of fame ; 

Who, scorning party, praise, and blame, withstood — 

One glorious object his — his country's good? 

Does Erin want a bard lior naino to riiiso 

While Moore, fresh-crowned with never-fading bays, 

Unrivalled, sings his own harmonious lays ? 

What varied talents to our bar belong — 

Applauding senates hang on Plunket's tongue. 

The statesman's wisdom with the poet's fire. 

Then fair O'Neill ranks first on Britain's stage, 

While Edgeworth gives to youth the sense of age, 

And all admire O'Donnell's patriot page. 

On the 28th of October, 1819, the Kilkenny 
Theatre was opened for the last time. During the 
season Miss O'NeiU had played there several times; 
and here she met, and played with, Mr. Wrixon- 
Beecher, whom she subsequently married. The 
first night she appeared, the audience — ladies in- 
cluded — received her standing, to mark not merely 
their admiration for her genius, but their respect 
for her character. A magnificent baU was given 



at the theatre upon this night. It commenced 
with a country dance, in which Mr. Gervase Power 
led off Miss Kavanagh, and Miss O'Neill was led 
down the dance by Richard Power of Kilfane. 
The play selected was "Richard the Third," Wrixon- 
Beecher playing Richard, and Miss O'Neill Lady 
Anne. The following list of the performers may 
possess some interest for their descendants : — 

Last Season of the Kilkenny Private Theatricals, 
OCTOBER 28tu, 1819. 

The Company 

Mr. R. Power. 

Sir J. 0. Coghill. 

Mr. Rothe. 

Mr. J. Power. 

Mr, Beecher. 

Mr. G. Hill. 

Mr. Corry. 

Mr. Hare. 

Lord Monck. 

Mr. Dixon. 

Mr. R. Langrish. 

Mr. Smythe. 

Mr. R. Rothe. 

Mr. Anderson. 

Mr. J. Power, jun. 

Mr. E. Helsliam. 

Mr. R. Power, jun. 

Mr. R. Helshara. 

Mr. G. Power. 

Mr. H. Helsham. 

Mr. H. A. Bushe. 

Mr. T. Hill. 

Mr. Annesley. 

Mr. Shee. 

Mr. Holmes. 

Mr. M. Shee. 

Mr. GylcB. 

Mr. Bookey. 

Mr. M'Caskoy. 

Mr. I'leming. 

Lord Hawarden. 

Mr. Marshall. 

Lord James Stuart. 

Masters Dalton and Brenan. 

Miss O'Neill. 

Miss Roche. 

Miss Walstein. 

Miss Curtis. 

Miss Kelly. 

Miss J( 


Miss Eyrety. 


Mrs. Siddons was justly proud of having won 
tears from Burke ; and Miss O'Neill might feel 
no less proud of having won the heart of one 
of the most accomplished and famous men of the 

The gallant man, 
Who led the van 
Of the Irish volunteers ! 

Miss O'Neill's success was truly wonderful. 
What must not have been the grace and genius of 
the unfriended young Irish girl, to have so speedily 
won her exalted position before a public with the 
sublime Siddons and the comet-like Kean fresh in 
their memories ! She was a lion in London society, 
and Sir Walter Scott was fond of telling how he 
and Miss O'Neill were once seized upon by a 
famous lion-lnmter at Highgate. They got into 
some ground entirely surrounded by an iron rail- 
ing, and Sir Walter turned to the lion-hunter 
and said : 

" Now, your fortune is made ! Hoist a flag on a 
pole, and placard that you have got a beautiful 
lion and lioness, and in half an hour you will have 
multitudes to see us ; and we shall roar in grand 
style, shall we not. Miss O'Neill ?'"' 

In the December of the same year upon 
which the Kilkenny Theatre was closed for ever. 

* Vide Lockhart'a " Scott," vol. i. p. 391. 


Miss O'Neill was married to Mr. Wrixon-Beecher. 
The event was thus recorded in an Irish news- 
paper : — 

"Miss Eliza O'Neill was married December 
18th, 1819, to William Wrixon-Beecher, Esq., 
M.P. for Mallow, and one of the most celebrated 
and accomplished of our theatrical amateurs. The 
ceremony was performed at Kilfane Church by the 
Dean of Ossory. The whole of Miss O'Neill's 
fortune was settled on her family. Her loss to the 
public is much regretted." 

Miss O'Neill's professional career was at once 
the shortest and the most brilliant ever known. 
From the time when she played Juliet by accident 
in the Crow Street Theatre, in Dublin, up to the 
day of her marriage, her career was one of un- 
interrupted success. Like all true geniuses, she 
was excessively modest in her estimate of her own 
powers, and no entreaties could prevail upon her 
to take a public farewell of the stage. Tliis was 
rather remarkable, considering how very well the 
public had treated her. Miss O'Neill's retirement 
was much lamented, and the throne of tragedy was 
indeed declared deserted when she voluntarily 
vacated it. Amongst English tragic actresses, her 
only superior was Mrs. Siddons, and in her own 
particular walk she has never had a rival. 

Miss O'Neill was scarcely above the medium 


height. Miss Wynne says of her : " She was 
always graceful, merely because she could not help 
it ; because it was impossible to throw those 
beautifully formed limbs, and especially that neck, 
into any position that was not beautiful."* Her 
eyes were blue, her hair light, and her features 
exquisitely expressive. The mournful cadence of 
her full- toned melodious voice was admirably suited 
to tragedy, but quite out of place when she 
attempted comedy — for in the latter line she 
always appeared ill at ease, and her laugh was so 
palpably assumed that it grated upon the ears of 
her audience. 

After her marriage, she lived quietly on her 
liusband'a estate in tlio souLh of Trcland. By tlio 
death of his uncle, in 1831, Mr. Beecher succeeded 
to the baronetcy, and the ci-devant actress became 
Lady Wrixon-Beecher. She survived her husband 
— by whom she had a numerous family — several 
years, and peacefully closed her long and blameless 
life on the 20th of October, 1872, at the advanced 
age of eighty-one years. 

The Annual Register for October, 1872, gives the 
following account of her death : — 

''Lady Beecher (Miss O'Neill), relict of Sir 
William Wrixon-Beecher, died at her residence, 

" Diary of a Lady of Quality," p. 102. 


Ballygiblin, near Mallow, on the 20th. The 
deceased lady, who had attained her eighty-first 
year, at one time occupied a most prominent 
position in the theatrical profession. The great 
dramatic genius and brilliant triumphs of Miss 
O'Neill are matters of history. On the stage she 
had no rival ; in fact, she elevated the profession, 
and gave to it dignity and respectability. In her 
famous characters of Mi^s. Bailer' and Mrs. Beverley 
and Belvidera, contemporary critics represent her 
as liaviug been unapproacliablo in lier 'realisation 
of tlioso iin[)orHoiiaLi()iiH. Ju early life, -it is said, 
' the great Miss O'Neill,' as her ladyship was 
designated, passed through much and severe trial; 
but her genius, which was unquestionable, and her 
determination of character, which is represented as 
something astonishing, enabled her successfully to 
surmount all the difficulties and obstructions wliich 
beset her path. Her first appearance was made 
in a rather humble manner, and in company with 
humble companions, in a small provincial town ; 
but on her debut in London, in 1814, she at once 
occupied, if not the first, at least a most distin- 
guished position, and after a brief time was 
unanimously hailed as * The Great Miss O'Neill.' 
The deceased lady, who was a native of Ireland, 
was in private life as remarkable for true benevo- 
lence and practical kindness as she was during her 


professional career for the splendour of her histrionic 
abilities. " 

Lady Wrixon-Beecher's unblemished character 
as a woman, was a fitting accompaniment to her 
brilliant public career ; and her noble character 
will long be honoured in many cu'cles and many 
homes where the brief triumphs of the stage would 
perhaps be held of but Httle account. 

VOL. I. C C 


Born, a.d. 1828. Died, a.d. 1861. 

S the possessor of rare histrionic talents — 
scarcely less remarkable than her marvel- 
lous vocal gifts — Catherine Hayes is 
entitled to a place amongst those of her country- 
women who have been more decidedly disciples of 
Melpomene and Thalia. Of Erin's many gifted 
daughters, she is the only one who has gained 
European fame as a songstress ; many of her 
countrywomen have done excellently in this 
respect, but she has excelled them all. It is a 
curious fact that Ireland, so essentially the land of 
song, should have given to the lyric stage but one 
single female vocalist, capable of interpreting with 
success the higher branches of dramatic music. 
In every other art our country has given proof of 
the genius of her children ; but as a vocalist — Irish 
by birth — who has achieved triumphs which place 
in the shade many of the proudest vocal victories 
of foreign prima donnas, Catherine Hayes stands 


One summer's evening a pleasure party were 
idly rowing along the Shannon, where it passes 
the pleasure-grounds of tlie Earl of Limerick, and 
the gardens of the See house. Suddenly, upon 
the stillness of the evening air there was poured 
forth a flood of melody, so sweet, so pure, so fresh, 
that they all remained transfixed witli delight as 
they listened to the unknown singer. Unconscious 
of the audience, the unseen continued to pour 
forth song after song, finishing up with " The Lass 
o' Gowrie," which was concluded with a prolonged 
and thrilling shake. A rapturous shout of applause 
from the listeners betrayed their presence to the 
frightened child, little "Kitty" Hayes, then scarcely 
ten years old. 

Catherine Hayes was born at No. 4, Patrick 
Street, Limerick, in 1828, and early showed evi- 
dences of her wonderful musical gifts. Her grand- 
mother was housekeeper to the Earl of Limerick, 
and with this relative the child spent much of her 
time. Her chief delight was to sit in one of the 
arbours in a garden skirting the Shannon, and 
tliere to warble forth all the old Irish— or any 
other — songs and ballads which she could pick 
up. One of the listeners upon the particular 
summer's evening referred to was the Hon. and 
Kight Reverend Edmund Knox, Bishop of 
Limerick, himself a musician and musical critic 

c c 2 


of no mean ability. His practised ear at once 
discerned the rare qualities of voice of the juvenile 
songstress. Inquiries were made as to who and 
what she was, and from that day forth the Bishop 
of Limerick became her patron. Society at that 
time in Limerick was very musical, and the 
Bishop's piviegee was soon acknowledged as a star 
in the circle. A lady — a distinguished amateur — 
undertook to give the child lessons in music, and 
was more than astonished at the marvellous 
aptitude which she displayed. On one occasion 
she asked Kitty to execute a shake. The child 
bashfully demurred, but upon her teacher playing 
one upon the piano, and desiring her to try and 
imitate it, the child, as if inspired, not alone imi- 
tated it, but introduced so many wonderful and 
enthralling flights of sweetness, that her preceptress 
was utterly overcome with amazement and admi- 
ration. The lady, upon conscientious grounds, 
refused to have anything more to say to Kitty's 
musical education. She appealed to the Bishop, 
telling him the child had a fortune in her voice. 

The parents of Catherine Hayes were in very 
straitened circumstances, and quite unable to 
defray the expenses of a first-class musical educa- 
tion for their daughter. Accordingly the Bishop 
consulted some friends who were interested in the 
little girl, the result being that a subscription was 

OATnmiNE HAYES, 389 

speedily set on foot, and a large sum raised for tlie 
purpose of giving her the advantage of proper 

Signor Antonio Sapio, then recognised as the 
first teacher of singing in Ireland, was the master 
selected for Catherine Hayes, who took up her 
residence with liim in Dublin on April 1st, 1839. 

She was now but eleven years of age, mtli a full, 
clear, silvery soprano voice, much pure and refined 
natural taste, and very little knowledge of music. 
The intention was to cultivate her talent with a 
view of enabhng her to earn her living as a concert 
singer. Her master lost no opportunity of bringing 
her prominently before the public, and on May 3rd, 
1839, about a month after her arrival hi Dublin, 
she made her first appearance before an audience 
in that city. The concert was held ui the great 
room of the Rotunda ; and the youthful singer 
was cordially welcomed. The old duet, "O'er 
shepherd pipe," she sang with Signor Sapio, and 
was encored in it. 

Young as Catherine Hayes was, her perse- 
verance and industry were marvellous. When she 
made her next appearance at a concert given by the 
Anacreontic Society, in the December of the same 
year, her master's musical friends were unfeignedly 
surprised at the progress which she had made. 
Her execution of *' Qui la voce," from *' I Puritani," 


and " Come per sereno," excited no ordinary amount 
of admiration. When she paid a visit to her native 
city of Limerick, about a month afterwards, her 
friends there considered her improvement nothing 
short of magical. Their expectations were more 
than reahsed, and a concert at which she sang 
there, for the joint benefit of herself and Signer 
Sapio, gave her substantial proof of the estimation 
in which she was held by her townspeople. 

But this intense application began to tell upon 
her health, and during the next year she was 
obliged to relax her studies. Not until 1841 did 
she again sing in public, when she was introduced 
to Liszt, who was charmed with her voice. She 
was now recognised as one of the cliief concert 
singers in Dublin, and raised her terms, a prosaic 
but certain mode of demonstrating her popularity. 

Up to this time it had been the height of 
Catherine Hayes's ambition to become a first-class 
concert singer. The idea of the operatic stage had 
never occurred to her mind, nor to that of any of her 
patrons. Lablache first suggested the subject. He 
heard her sing — sang a duet with her — and pre- 
dicted a brilliant future for her. Giving her some 
good advice, and recommending her to go and hear 
Grisi and Mario — then performing in Dublin — he 
dismissed her with the following letter to Signor 
Sapio : — 


" I have heard with infinite pleasure your pupil, 
Miss Hayes, and I find she possesses all the quali- 
ties to make a good singer. With your instruc- 
tions slie can but gain every day, and I am certain 
she will end by becoming a perfect vocalist in 
every sense of the word." 

The same night she went to hear Grisi, and 
Catlierine Hayes then and there decided upon 
studying for the operatic stage. With a letter of 
introduction to Mr. George Osborne, she shortly 
afterwards set out for Paris, there to study under 
the world-famed Manuel Garcia. 

" The dearest, the kindest, and the most generous 
of masters !" Catherine Hayes always called him. 
He took a very great interest in the young Irish girl, 
and at the end of eighteen months advised her to 
go to Italy and study there, as he could not add a 
single grace or charm to her beautiful voice. She 
acted upon this advice, and proceeded to Milan, 
where she placed himself under the instruction of 
tlie most famous tutor for the lyric stage to be found 
in Italy. This was Signer Honconi, who introduced 
her to the famous Signora Grassini. This latter lady 
was as kind-hearted and as generous-minded as she 
was talented. Instead of feeUng any professional 
jealousy when she heard Catherine Hayes sing, 
she warmly congratulated her, and did everything 
in her power to further her interests. She even 


wrote to her friend, Signor Provini, impresario of 
the Opera at Marseilles, telling him of this new 
star which had just risen upon the horizon of the 
musical world. So enthusiastic was she, that 
Signor Provini actually came to Milan, heard Miss 
Hayes, offered her most liberal terms, and she 
forthwith entered into an engagement with him for 
two months. 

So on the 10th of May, 1845, Catherine Hayes 
made her first appearance on the operatic stage, 
at the Opera House of Marseilles. The opera 
selected was " I Puritani," Miss Hayes sustaining 
the part of Elvira, There was a crowded house, 
and the young girl was very nervous. She stood, 
half fainting, at the wings, feeling sure of nothing 
except certain failure, and stepped on the stage 
with despair on her agitated face and in her heart. 
Scene after scene she went tlirough almost me- 
chanically, and her failure seemed sealed. But 
all at once, upon commencing the polacca " Son 
Vergin," her recklessness caused her to forget 
everything, and she sang the exquisite air as her 
audience had never before heard it sunsf. As she 
concluded, a rapturous burst of applause utterly 
bewildered her. She was encored, and as she 
concluded the air the second time, she felt all her 
fears dispelled, for she knew she had fulfilled the 
dream of her life, and had succeeded. When the 


curtain fell, she was enthusiastically called before 
it, whilst bouquets were showered vipon her by the 
dehVhted audience. 

" Lucia di Lammcrmoor" was the next opera in 
which she aj^peared, and in which she also scored 
a success. Signer Provini offered her an engage- 
ment at the Opera in Paris, but she declined, and 
returned to Milan, there to further prosecute her 
studies. The same year she played at La Scala, 
being then but seventeen, and the youngest artiste 
who had ever filled the position of prima donna at 
that vast theatre. Miss Hayes was at first not 
very successful at La Scala, owing to her extreme 
nervousness. " La Sonnambula" was the first occa- 
sion upon which she pleased her audience there ; 
and in " Otello" she made such a charming Des- 
demona that the musif^-loving Milanese gave her 
the name of "La Perla del Teatro." From Milan 
she went to Vienna, thence to Venice, where she 
made her appearance in a new opera, composed 
expressly for her by a young Italian nobleman. 
The music of this production was indifferent, the 
singers worse. 

" The audience received the opera with chilling 
silence, and when Cattarina entered in the middle 
of the first act, she found the house in a horribly 
bad humour. At sight of her fair, young face, 
however, and on hearing the clear tones of her 


sweet soprano, the anger of the audience gradually 
disappeared ; and although Catherine could not 
save the piece from condemnation, she rescued it 
for this one night. She then appeared as Lucia, 
with great success. During the rondo of the third 
act the audience was so silent that (said the Figaro 
of Venice) the buzzing of a fly might have been 
heard ; and at the close of the opera Miss Hayes 
was called twice on the stage, and applauded for 
nearly ten minutes. In ' Linda di Chamouni' she 
was not only completely successful, but was the 
cause of a little tlieatrical uproar. At Venice, the 
law regardmg theatres prohibits any artiste, at 
any theatre, from appearing before the curtain 
more than thrice in compliance with a call from 
the audience ; but when Miss Hayes had retired 
at the end of the opera, on this occasion, the 
excited crowd shouted for her to come forward a 
fourth time. The young prima donna dared not 
venture to disobey the police regulations ; and the 
excitement then became terrific, the audience 
asseverating that if she did not appear as many 
times as they chose to call for her they would tear 
down the theatre; it was judged advisable to yield 
to their wishes, and, when she finally appeared, 
she was covered with flowers."* 

* Vide " Queens of Song," vol. i. p. 284. 


A series of brilliant successes in the various 
continental cities followed this, and in April, 1849, 
Catherine Hayes sang for the first time in the 
Royal Italian Opera, London, llcr fellow artistes 
were Mesdames Grisi, Persiani, and Brambilla ; 
Signori Mario, Salvi, the two Lablaches, and 
Tamburini ; and her salary for the season was 
1300^. Donizetti's " Linda di Chamouni" was the 
piece selected for her first aj^pearance in London. 
Much to her surjjrise, the audience received her 
with a rapturous burst of applause, which at first 
completely unnerved her. As the play proceeded, 
she never sang or acted so well in her life, and her 
audience were not slow to perceive that she was 
ovcrcomo by sonic powerful emotion. When the 
curtain fell, her fellow-singers soon divined the 
cause, for the brilliant young prima donna was 
found in a private box, sobbing forth tears of 
gratitude at the feet of her first and early friend, 
the Bishop of Limerick. 

Miss Hayes played important parts during the 
season, always caUing forth warm eulogiums both 
from her audience and from the press. Towards 
the close of the season, the Irish prima donna had 
the honour of singing before Her Majesty at a 
State Concert given at Buckingham Palace. The 
Queen entered into conversation with her, said she 
had heard of her career, complimented her upon 


hex deserved success, and introduced her to Prince 
Albert, who predicted future and greater honours 
for her. 

All this time " the Irish Lind," as she was 
called, had not revisited her native land, so that, 
after an absence of seven years, when she was 
announced to appear at one of the Dublin Phil- 
harmonic Concerts, a crowded house was the result, 
and she was received with a truly Irish welcome, 
which threw all continental ones into the shade. 
Her second appearance in Dublin was at the 
Theatre Royal ; and the following account of the 
performance appeared soon after in 27ie Dublin 
University Magazine : — 

" The opera was ' Lucia di Lammermoor,' the 
Edgar do of the evening being Signer Pagliere, an 
unknown performer. His ludicrous inefficiency 
elicited shouts of laughter, with a variety of 
ingenious mimicries from the wags among the 
audience — the manifestations of disapprobation for 
him being blended with loud applause for the 
frightened debutante. In the midst of this uproar 
and noise, a more glaring breakdown than befove 
on Edgardo's part was followed by a hurricane of 
' cat-calls,' Miss Hayes, with wonderful self-posses- 
sion, curtsied to that unfortunate gentleman, and 
left the stage. 

" The curtain was then rung down, and an in- 


describable scene .of tumultuous excitement fol- 
lowed ; cheers, groans, laughter, hisses, forming a 
very Babel of discord. Mr. Sims Reeves — who, 
with Mr. Whitworth, Miss Lucombe, and an 
English Opera Company, had terminated an 
engagement the day of Miss Hayes's coming — 
occupied a private box, and sat during all this 
turmoil full in view of the audience. He was 
quickly recognised, and shouts of ' Reeves 1 Reeves!' 
rose from nearly every part of the house. The 
lessee, Mr. Calcraft, on this came forward, and 
intimated that ' he had then no control over Mr. 
Reeves, whose engagement had termmated, and 
who, on being asked to sing on tliis emergency, 
had positively declined.' Mr. Reeves instantly 
sprang to his feet, leaned out of the box, and on 
obtaining a partial silence, said, in no very tem- 
perate tones : ' Ladies and gentlemen, I will sing 
to oblige you, but not to oblige Mr. Calcraft.' On 
wliich the lessee, in the blandest tones, concluded 
the first act of unpleasantness in these words : ' I 
am not angry, I assure you, that Mr. Reeves has 
declined to sing to oblige me ; but I am gratified 
to find that he has consented to do so to please 
tlie audience, and doubly gratified because, under 
the untoward circumstances, he will support 
your gifted and distinguished young country- 


"After the necessary delay of dressing, &c,, the 
curtain again rose, and the opera proceeded, 
Mr. Reeves performing Edgar better than on any 
former occasion in this city, and Miss Hayes 
nerving herself so fully for her task that no trace 
of tremulousness, no shadow of the agitating scene 
through which she had passed, marred the beauty 
of her singing and acting. At the termination of 
each act they were both called before the curtain, 
and when the opera concluded their presence was 
again and again demanded, amid the most furious 
waving, not only of hats and liancllcercliiefs, but of 
canes and umbrellas. The curtain having finally 
descended, the lessee came forward, Mr. Reeves 
also appearing at the wing, and still in the 
costume of Edgardo. This occasioned a renewal of 
the uproar, but mutual explanations ensued, and 
the singer and manager shook liands upon the 
stage. This unfortunate disturbance had nearly 
proved fatal to the success of the first appearance 
of Catherine Hayes in the metropolitan theatre of 
her birthplace ; that success being thus suddenly 
imperilled and so nearly marred, it is not sur- 
prising that Miss Hayes should refer to this 
incident as the most painful throughout her entire 

After this short enofaf>;ement in Dublin, where 
her Norma was enthusiastically received, she went 


on a provincial tour, visiting her native city of 
Limerick, delighting her old friends with her 
glorious voice. In 1850 she again visited Ireland, 
returning to London for the opera season at Her 
Majesty's Theatre. But she worked too hard. 
Not gifted with as strong a physique as a brain, 
her health began to give way, and during the 
summer and autumn she was obliged to rest and 
recruit herself x\.s soon as ever she was able to 
resume her professional duties Miss Hayes went on 
a tour through Ireland again, creating an excite- 
ment not one whit less than the famous " Lmd 
mania" of 1847. A series of provincial en- 
gagements in England followed, and then the 
Irisli singer went to sing at the Carnival in 

All over ilie Continent of Europe the name of 
" the Irish Lind" was well known. Both in 
England and Ireland, as well as in every con- 
tinental city, she had sung successfully, and she 
longed for a wider sphere in which to display her 
abilities. Accordingly, she projected and com- 
menced the most extraordinary tour that had then 
ever been undertaken by an artiste. It was no 
less than to circumnavigate the globe, singing at 
all the chief cities. So she left England for New 
York in 1851, accompanied by Mr. Augustus 
Braham and Ilerr Menghis. Her visit to New 


York was nearly a failure, owing to bad manage- 
ment. In this difficulty Mr. Every Buslinell, a 
famous electioneering agent, seeing where the 
mistake lay, came forward and offered himself as 
the manager of her tour. Miss Hayes was losing 
heavily, so she, in despair, accepted this offer, 
which she found no reason ever to regret. So 
wonderful a professional tour was never made 
before nor since, as the following business record 
of it will show : — 

" December, 1851, she was at Philadelphia ; she 
arrived at San Francisco, November, 1852, and 
was singing in California in 1853. Her success in 
this region was marvellous ; fabulous sums were 
paid for the choice of seats, and one ticket sold for 
1150 dollars. She then departed for South 
America, and after visiting the principal cities, 
embarked for tlie Gold Fields of Australia. She 
gave concerts in the Sandwich Islands, and arrived 
in Sydney, January, 1854. From Sydney she 
went to Melbourne and Adelaide. At Melbourne 
she became such a favourite that when she an- 
nounced her departure a petition most numerously 
signed was presented to her, begging her to con- 
tinue her performances for some time. From 
Adelaide she went to India, giving concerts in 
Calcutta and Singapore. March, 1855, she gave, 
in aid of the Patriotic Fund, a concert which 


realised upwards of 200/. She then went to 
Batavia, and in the capital of Java she created an 
immense sensation. From thence sjie turned her 
steps to Port Pliilip, revisited Melbourne and 
Sydney, appeared at the Bendigo Goldfields, 
and sang at Hobart Town and Launceston. 
She then re-embarked for England in the 
Royal Charier, arriving at Liverpool, August, 
185G, after an absence from England of five 

The following October Miss Hayes Qiarried Mr. 
Every Bushnell, the enterprisuig manager of her 
tour. After her marriage she sang and played, 
still retaining licr maiden name. ITer husband, 
wlio had been delicate for some time, became 
n. confirmed invalid a, \'Q,\y years after their mar- 
riage. For the sake of liis health they even- 
tually fixed their residence at Biarritz, where he 

Mrs. Bushnell returned to England, but the 
enormous fatigue she had undergone at last began 
to tell upon a never over-strong frame. On Sunday, 
August the 11th, 1861, she quietly died at Syden- 
ham, in the zenith of her fame, and at the early 
age of thirty- three. 

The professional career of Catherine Hayes has 
been at once one of the shortest, one of the most 
brilliant, and one of the greatest pecmiiary suc- 

VOL. I. D D 


cesses upon record. At lier death she left projjerty 
to the amount of 1G,000/. UnHke the generahty 
of her countrypeople, Catherine Hayes was espe- 
cially shrewd in business matters, and fond of 
money, even to parsimony. 

In no department of vocal music did Catherine 
Hayes's exquisite voice sound to such perfection as 
when singing Irish ballads. Her rendering of Mrs, 
Norton's " Kathleen Mavourneen" has been said to 
have boon perfectly entrancing from tlie witching 
sweetness of the singer's voice. Tlu'ough her 
magical singing of the national Iri.sli aii's she 
exercised a spell over her Iiish audiences, for 
since the days of Catherine Stephens no singer 
had swayed them as did their gifted country- 
woman, Catherine Hayes. 




{The names of Plays are printed in Italics.) 

A BBESS of Cill-Dara, 4 

-"■ Abbey of BalUntobber Carra, 102 

Abercorn, Earl of, 111 

Abingdon, Mrs., 298, 305, 306, 338, 

Abingdon, the, 365 
Academy, Royal Irisli, 14, 16, 88, 91 
Actreasefi, ]*'ainoii3, 119 
Acliy-Eolacliair, 14 
Ack'iaido, 400 
Adonis, 225 
Aedh-Ruadh, 10 
Aeifi, 53 
Aengus-Mor, 33 
Aengus Mac-Mog, 100 
Ages, Middle, 71 
Agra, 86 

Agrippa, Cornelius, 85 
Ailill, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 30 
Ailill's Bull, 26 
Ailbe, Saint, of Emly, 39 
Ainsi va Ic Monde, 278 
Albans, St., 78 
Albaines, 65 
Alcanor, 160, 161 
All Souls' Eve, 86 
All's well that ends well, 133 
Alloy, Sinock, 153, 166, 237, 288, 303, 

336, 355 
All in the Wron/j, 345 
Almeria Carpenter, Lady, 245 
Amazonian Queen, 29 
America, North, 246 
America, Soutl), 400 

Anacreontic Society, 389 
Andromache, 145, 154, 186 
Anderson, Mr., 380 
Anglo-Norman Invasion, 4 
Anglo-Norman troops, 94 
Anglo-Norman tribes, 95 
Anglo-Norman cliiof, 96 
Anglo-Norman settlors, 103 
Angelica, 350 
Anjou, Margaret of, 368 
Anncslcy, Mr., 380 
Anna Donna, 183 
Ansdell, Mrs., 183 
Antonio Sapio, Signer, 389 
Antony, 215, 219 
Antonius, INIarcus, 48 
Apostle of Ireland, 40 
Apology, 176, 176 
Apparent, lloir, 263 
Apphia J'oacli, 259 
Apollo, 157 
Arch Brehon, 68 
Archdall, 106 
Ardrigh, 45 
Arran, Isles of, 92 
Arthur Murphy, 122 
Arsinoc, 194 

Arragon, Catherine of, 79 
Argetmar, King, 14 
Assumption, F. ast of the, 66 
Asjmsia, 139, 194, 195 
As You Like It, 170, 302 
Ath-Cumair, 16 
Ath-Luain, 27 

B D 2 



Ath-M6r, 27 

Alhboy, 106 

Athlone, 27 

Atlantic Coiifit, 90 

Athenais, 188 

Audley Street, North, 202 

Auugier Street Theatre, 288 

Australia, 400 

Ayscough, George, 245, 252 

BABYLON, Queen of, 148 
Bacon, Lord, 78 

JUile, na-h-iiisi, 95 

Bald, the, 74 

Ballintobber Carra, 102 

Bailygiblin, 384 

Bangor, 209 

Bansheo, 25 

J'.annister, 342 

/iarber of Seville, 334 

Ilarlicv, Sixmiufi, 334 

Barbara Villicrs, 3 

Barony of Murasky, 100 

Baroness 0])haly, 104 

Baniea, Miss Betty, 124 

Barry, 151, 211, 215, 231 

Barry more, 346 

Barriiigton, Mrs., 173 

Barriiigton, Master, 124 

Bay, Newport, 93 

Battle royal, 148 

Beau Bruinrnel, 244 

Beaniibli, Master, 124 

Beansidhe, 25 

Beautified Ophelia, 213 

Beauties of the (!ourt, 113 

Beauty, Queen of, 9 

Beaumont and l''letcher, 194 

Beecher, Lady Wrixou, 301, 385 

Boecher, Wrixon, 378, 382 

Beochor, 383 

heceiier, W., 379, 380 

Jkcknell, 275 

Beefsteak ( 'lub, 157 

Beijgar's Opera, the, 174 

Bellamy, 124, 148, 176, 177, 195, 197, 
199, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 213, 
214, 215, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 
226, 230, 231, 233, 236, 237, 238,' 
239, 240, 241, 243, 343 

Bellamy, G. A., 144, 145, 146, 147, 
184, 185, 186, 188, 194, 227, 228, 

Bellamy, Captain, 179, 180 
Belvldcra, 225, 226, 230, 368, 384 
Belinda, 133, 345 
Bendigo Goldfields, 401 
Betsy, Miss, 250, 251 
Bcrlntlda, 133 
Beverley, Mrs., 384 
Birch Collection, 77 
Bishop of Limerick, 387, 395 
IJishop of Osnaburg, 2G7 
Black Oak, 92 
Bland, ISlra., 153, 154 
Bhmd, Dorothy, 302 
Blanche, 195 
Blessington, Earl of, 178 
Blessington, Lord, 179 
Blue-eyed Bellamy, 175 
Boaden, 303, 311, 316 
Bohadil, 239 
]$olt Court, 309 
Bookey, Mr., 380 
J5ook of Ballymott, 32 
Book of Kildaro, 39 
Book, 'J'able, 77 
Borough of the O'Maileys, 92 
Borriahoole, 92 
Bourk, na Long, 102 
Bourke, Sir Bichard, 96 
Boy, Hugh O'Neill, 70 
Bow china, 293 
15rady, MrH., 309 
Brufjanza, Kullierine of, 112 
l^aham, Augustus, 399 
Brambilla, 395 
Brendans, 67 
Brereton, Mr. Wm., 253 
Bi'eeyith, Bridget, 3 
BreHhi, 49 
Breffiii, Prince of, 48 
lireli'ny. Prince of, 4, 45, 51 
Brellny, Princess of, 45, 46 
Brchon, Arcii, 68 
Hrohon, IjawH, 13, 98 
Brehon, of Oiialy, 67 
Bretons, 67 
Bunowen, 95 
Brigit, 38, 41 
Brigit, isles of, 40 
Brigit, Saint, 4, 33, 34, 39, 42 
lirighit, Brighid, 4 
Bristol, 246, 294 
Bristol ware, 293 

British Museum, 77, 226, 269, 273, 



British Museum Library, 130 

Britain Street, 226 

Broad Street, 202, 204 

Brontere, Mr. Osmond, 326, 327 

Brown, Sir Anthony, 36, 37, 87 

Bruce, Robert, 57, Ladtf, 133 

IJryan, L.'uly Mary, 84 

Buckingham Palace, 309 

Burlingtoa Countess of, 151 

Burlington J^ardens, 276 

Burge, De, 56 

Burgoyne, General, 344 

Burney, Dr., 287 

Burke, 381 

Burren, 12 

Burroughs, 327, 320, 330, 331, 332, 

Beersheba, 353 
Bushe, Mr., 380 
Bushes, 379 
Bushey, 181 
Bushnell, Mrs., 401 
Bushnell, Evory, 400 
Butler, Hon. Mr., 211, 212, 214, 219, 

220, 221, 222 
Butler, 377 
Butlers, 378 
Uyron, Lord, 199, 200, 202, 205, 20G, 

Byron, 3(58 

/1ADWALLADER, Bonny Dame, 296 

^ Careless, 318 

Civsar, 218 

Calcraft, Mr., 233, 234, 397 

Calcutta, 400 

California, 400 

Valuta, 138, 363 

Calvach O'Couor, Gl, 03, G4, 05, 6G, 

Cambrensis, Giraldus, 37, 40, 42, 45, 

47, 54 
Campion, Maria, 354, 355, 357, 361 

Canada, 377 
Candour, Mrs., 351 

Canterbury, 376 

Canterbury Tales, 4 

Canterbury Tales, New, 230 

Canlred of Chuailgnd, 23 

Cape Clear, 40 

Captain Machcath, 124 

Carbri Niadh, 33 

Cardinal Pandjdph, 195 
Countess of Cardingtou, 196, 197 
Careless Husband, the, 133 
Carew, Lord of, 53 
Carlisle, Miss, 374 
Carlos, 141 

Car|>enter, Lady Almeria, 245 
Carnaby Market, 202 
Carnival, 399 
Carrick-on-Shannon, 47 
Carrigahowly Castle, 93, 94 
Castalio, 211 
Castle Dublin, 226 
Castle of Otranto, 290 
Castle, Ormonde, 377 
Castleni.iine, Lady, 3, 112 
Castlcniaino, Lord, 2 
Catherine of Arra;/on, 79 
Catherine Hayes, 386 
Catherine .Ste|>hens, 402 
Catiey, Miss, 242 
Cato, 195 

Cattle Spoil or Cattle Plunder of 
Cuailgn^, 3 

Causeway, Giant's, 40 

Cecilia, 337 

Cecily, Fitzgerald, Lady, 84 

Cecily, Lady, 83 

Cr.lla, 170, 195, 311 

Cell of the Oak, 34 

Celtic History, 31 

Celtic Tcmpcraiucnt, 121 

Cenngoba, 100 

Chamont, 211 

Chapter of Accidents, 230, 237 

Charlotte, Queen, 352 

Charlotte Rusport, 335, 365 

Charles James Fox, 340 

Charles Kemble, 361 

Charles Surface, 351 

Charles Cormick, 89 

Charles II., 2, 110, 111, 116 

Charles Churchill, 295 

Charter, Royal, 401 

Chaucer, 4 

Chelsea china, 295 

Cheltenham, 312 

Chest, Iron, 350 

Chesterfield, Lord, 177, 198, 215, 220, 

Chester, 209, 306, 331, 332 

Checrly, Widow, 375 

Chevalier de Grammont, 115 

Cholmondely, 173 



Chicken Gloves, 234 

Chief Justice Whitchell, 123 

Chief Justice, J^onl, 353 

Christ, 32 

Christ Church, Dublin, 54 

Christian Female Education, 4 

Christmas Eve, 323 

Christmas Pantomime, 328 

Chuailgiie, Brown Bull of, 23 

Chuailgnd, Donn, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 

Chuailgnc^, T:lin-Bo, 19, 21, 31 

Cibber, 132, 151, 231 

Cibber, Mrs., 152, 237 

Cibber, Theophilus, 285 

Cibber, Susanna, 197 

Cibber, Colley, 153, 195, 285, 286,287 

CiU-Dara, 4, 34, 42 

Citken, The, 376 

City of Dublin, 122 

Clanrickarde, 96 

Clare Island, 93, 101 

Clarence, Lionel, Duke of, 57, 310, 

311, 312, 316 
Clarissa, 168 
Clarges Street, 277 
Cleapatra, 2, 219, 227 
Cleveland, Duchess of, 3 
Clear Island Abbey, 102 
Clieveden, 290, 297 
Clifford, 235 

Clive, Kitty, 132, 209, 285, 354 
Clive, Kitty, in china, 293 
Clive, Baron, 287 
Clive, Mr. George, 287 
Clive, General, 296 
Clive, Portly, 297 
Clothra, 16, 17 
Clothram, Inis, 31 
Clontarf, Sheds of, 214 
Club, Beefsteak, 157 
Club, Garrick, 243 
Cloud, St., 315, 316 
Clonmacnoise, 17 
Connaught, 97, 98 
Cobb, James, 346 
Cod nor, 81 

Coldstream Guards, 177 
Coghill. Sir J. C, 380 
Colesbill, 104 
College, Trinity, Dublin, 39, 187, 225, 

Colgan, 39 
College Boys, 224 
Columbkille, 42 

Columbines, Queen of, 328, 329 

Columb Cille, 100 

Colonel Herbert, 79 

Colonol Tarleton, 279 

Colman, 237, 333, 334, 335, 337 

Committee, Tlie, 133 

Com|)iaint, Kitty Clive's, 290 

Compostelio, St., James of, 62, 64 

Comus, 12, 289 

Conair^, 32 

Conchubar, 30, 32 

Conor, 17 

Conscious Lovers, The, 127 

Constance, 211, 212, 213, 215, 216, 

Conula, 33 

Conn of the Hundred Battles, 34 
Connacht, 26, 29 
Connaught, 11, 12, 16, 101 
Connaught, Lord of, 57 
Connaught, C^ueen of, 16, 17 
Connaught, Couriers, 24 
('onncmaia, 93 
Cooley, 3 

Cooper's Benefit, 359 
Cojur de Lion, 55 
Court, Bolt, 309 
Country Girl, the, 304, 809 
Country Wife, the, 289 
Conrach Kearuach, 30 
Cordelia, 35, 133, 233 
Cormac, 33 
Cork, 302, 322, 370 
County of Cork, 29 
Cork Street, 276 
Cornelius Agrippa, 85 
Cornelius Swan, 384 
Coronation Anthem, .367 
Count de Belgiose, 253 
Count de Granimont, 111, 115, 117 
Count Haslang, 233, 240 
Countess of Desmond, 72, 76, 77, 78, 

Countess of Burlington, 161 
Countess of Derby, 24], 318, 323, 362, 

353, 365 
Countess of Pembroke, 60, 55 
Countess of Tyrconnel, 245 
Country Party, 161 
Covent Garden Theatre, 129, 132 
Covent Garden, 149, 150, 151, 154, 

167, 185, 188, 191, 194, 207, 226, 

230, 247, 295, 335, 337, 357, 359, 




Crabtree, 351 

Crocbin Croderg, 16 

Cromwell, 84 

Crouch, Mi-A., 342 

Crow Street Theatre, 123, 362, 363, 

Cruachain, 17 
Crnacliaiii, Mohh of, 30 
Cruiinllioris, 100 
Crump, Mr., 209, 225, 239 
Crusca, Delia, 278 
Curtis, Miss, 380 
Curragli of Kildare, 42 
Cusack, Miss, 32 
Cusack. M. F. Miss, 63 
Cymric liards, 68 
Cymric vales, 68 


-^ Daire Mac-Fiachna, 3, 23 

Daly, 802, 304, 306, 309, 315, 355 

D'Alton, 62 

Dalton, Master, 380 

Daly, Mrs., 365 

Dame de Palais, 117 

Damor, lion. MrH., 340 

Dan, 66, 68, ,'553 

Danes of Dublin, 47 

DanoH, 50, 53 

Dangoau, Marciuia do, 117 

Daniel, Mrs., 284 

Darby, Miss, 246 

Darby, Mary, 247 

Dar^, 24, 25 

Da Sinchell, 66 

Daughter of Darius, 148 

Dean Swift, 214, 340 

DcarbliforgniU, 4, 44, 45 

Debt, National, 3 

Decies, Lord of, 73 

De Grammont, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 

Deirdre, 16 
Delia Crusca, 278 
D^mosthene, Mons., 347 
Detupsies, 108 
Dompsoy, Margaret, 101 
Drogheda, 361, 362, 363 
Derby, Countess of, 241, 318, 323, 350, 

353, 365 
Deiby, liarl of, 262, 340, 342, 344, 

346, 351, 362 

Dermot, King of Leinster, 4, 45, 46, 
47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53 

Dervorgill, 4, 45, 47, 48 

Dcsdcvwna, 357, 359 


Desmond, Earl of, 73, 74 

Jkril to Pay, 287, 289 

Diuibdara, 92 

Dian, 33 

Diary, Lady of Quality, 383 

Dickens, Charles, 332 

Digby, Sir Robert, 104 

Digby, Lettice, 104 

Digges, 161, 164,233, 240 

Dinn-Seanchas, 100 

Dithorba, 10, 11, 15 

Dixon, Mr., 380 

Doctor Johnson, 140, 177 

Dog and Duck, 241 

Donn Chuailgne, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 

Donna Anna, 183 

Dodd, 342 

Doodarro O'Mailly, 100 

Dorinda, 345 

Dorothy Jordan, 302 

Dora Jordan, 314 

Doran, Dr., 325 

Dorset, Lord, 154, 165, 166 

Dorsot, Marcptis of, 82 

'• Dove," the, 371 

Drake, .Sir Francis, 80 

Dramatic Censor, 4, 36, 138, 139, 168, 
334, 368 

Dremni, 33 

Dromana, 73 

Druid, 25 

Drury Lane, 110, 113, 148, 149, 150, 
211, 253, 260, 262, 285, 286, 289, 
291, 292, 294, 295, 297, 308, 336, 
338, 339, 343, 346, 348, 349, 371 

Drury, Old, 347 

"Drury, Poor Old," 346 

Dryden, 343, 345 

Dryden's "Virgil." 183 

Duahl McFirbis, 65 

Dubthach Donn, 33, 34 

Dublin, 39, 50, 53, 54, 89, 122, 123, 
126, 136, 137, 139, 143, 144, 148, 
153, 155, 157, 167, 170, I7ii, 185, 
186, 208, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 
215, 218, 224, 225, 233, 237, 239, 
288, 289, 291, 302, 336, 355, 357, 
361, 362, 363, 364, 370, 377, 382, 
389, 390, 396, 398 



Dublin, Archbishop of, 38 

Dublin, Castle of, 74, 75 

Dublin Philiiarnionic Concerts, 396 

Dublin University Miigazitie, 396 

Duchess of Cleveland, 3 

Duchess of Leeds, 197 

Duchess of Queensberry, 196, 197 

Duke of Clarence, 30, 310, 312, 315 

Duke of Dorset, 275 

Duke of Gloucester, 362 

Duke of Richmond, 340 

Duko of York, 115, 207, 571, 362 

Dunieiisil, Mademoiselle, 144 

EAGLE, 371 
Edgar, 398 
Edgeworth, Miss Maria, 378, 379 
Edmund Kean, 368, 372, 374 
Edwurdlhe Third,' 57 
/■Jdward the Fourlh, 57, 73, 80 
Mward the Fifth, 80 
Hdward the Sixth, 80 
Edward, King, 362 
Edwin, Mrs., 365 
Edgardo, 396, 398 
Egypt, Queen of, 218 
Eithn^ 17 
Ellen Fitzgerald, 73 
Elizabeth, Queen, 2, 79, 89, 92, 101 
Elmy, Mrs., 220 
Ely, King of, 65 
Emhain-Macha, 3, 13 
Emliain, 12 
Euphrosyne, 289 

England, Lord Chief Justice, 353 
Englefield Green, 283 
English Opera Company, 397 
Eochaidh, 16, 17, 33, 34 
Eochaidh Feidlech, 17 
Epsom, 256 
Ere, 100 
Ercnat, 100 
Erixenc, Princess, 231 
Errus, 89 
Erris, 68 
Essex, 207, 376 
Ethni, 17 

Eughter, MacWilliam, 96 
Euter, 97 

European Magazine, 243 
Europe, First Gentleman in, 244, 274 
Eva, 4, 50, 53, 54, 65, 57 
Eve, 2, 191 

Eve, All Soul's, 86 

Eve, Christmas, 323, 328, 329 

Eveleen, 62 

Evelyn, 110 

Every Woman in her Humour, 294 

Eyretz, Miss, 380 

TjiACHTNA, 23 

^ Faery Land, 28 

FaiJry Queon, 29 

Fair Gcraldino, 81, 83, 84, 86,87 

Fair Penitent, 303 

Fanciful Lady, 335 

Farren, Miss Eliza, 263, 308, 309, 318, 
319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 
326, 328, 329, 330, 332, 333, 336, 
337, 338, 339, 342, 343, 344, 345, 
346, 347, 349, 350, 351, 352, 353, 

Fanen, William, 318, 322, 337 

February, 42, 126 

Feiillimidh the Legal, 33 

Feline, 70 

Fenton, 194 

Figaro, 394 • 

Findabhar, 19, 25 

Finnbheannach, 22, 26, 27 

Finisk River, 74 

Fingal, 179, 180 

Finola, 70 

Finvarra, 68 

Fish Street Hill, 284, 285 

FitzGerald, 53 

Fiiz-Stephen, 53 

Fitzgerald, Lady Katherine, 73 

Fitzgerald, Sir John, 73 

Fitzgerald, Lady Elizabeth, 83 

Fitzgerald, Lady Cicely, 84 

Fitzgerald, Percy, 282, 301 

Fitzgeralds, Lord Henry, 85, 340 

Fitzgeralds, George Robert, 253, 257, 

Fitz-Maurice, James, 75 

Fitz-John, John, 75 

Fitz-William, Walter, 77 

Flanders, 177 

Fleming, Mr., 380 

Fleetwood, 149 

Fletcher, Beaumont and, 194 

Florizel, 270, 278 

Foote, 148, 149, 236 

Fotharda, 33 

Forbaide, 17 



Ford, Mr., 314 

Foundlln^i of the Forest, 366 

Four Masters, 30, 70 

Fownes Street, 123, 124, 125 

Fox, Mr., 147, 148, 233, 262, 278 

Fox, Charles James, 340 

Francis, ]\[is,q, 302 

Frauciscati Priory, 71, 78 

Fionn-Uioga, 74 

Furnival, Mrs., 212, 216, 217, 220 

GALWAY, 94, 97 
Garrett 7.') 

Garriclc, 124, 132, 13.% 134, 135, 136, 
137, 138, 140, 143, \\r), 149, ir)0, 
151, 167, 185, 18(!, 188, 209, 211, 
212, 21.3, 214, 230, 231,233, 243, 
260, 283, 289, 291, 292, 293, 294, 
29.5, 298, 299, 332 

Garrick Club, 127 

Garbois, Mr. Henry, 370 

Garcia, Manuel, 391 

GayJovc, Lady Emily, 344 

Geashill, 104, 105 

GenoRte (quoted), 16(i 

(idiiUcniMii'H M;i,;.;ir/,ino, 301 

(lOorgo's Court, 122 
, Gerald, 53 

Gerald, 9tli Earl, 82 

Gerald, 11th Earl, 83 

Gerald, 14th Earl, 83 

Geraldine, 73, 74, 75, 84 

Geraldines, Munster, 62 

Geraldine the Fair, 81, 83, 84, 85, 87 

Geraldines, 104 

Giraldus Canibrensis, 37, 38, 39, 40, 
42, 45, 47, 54 

Giant's Causeway, 40 

Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, 89 

Gilbert, Earl of Peml)roke, 52 

Gildas, 39 

Gille-na-iiajmh MacEgan, 66, 67 

Glasgow, 306 

Glanmalero, Lewis, 106, 107, 108 

Gloucester, Earl of, 56 

Gloucester, Duke of, 73, 362 

Goodwood, 141 

Goldsmith, Oliver, 288, 333 

Gospels, copy of, 39 

Gossip, S.iint, 111 

Goatling, Mrs., 300 

Grace of tlie Gamesters, 88 

Grammont, Count de, 110, 111, 112, 

113, 114, 11.5, 116, 117 
Grana-na-Garrugh, 102 
Grany-i-Mally, 97 
Graina na g Cearbbach, 88, 89 
Grana Wail, 88 
Grainne O'Mailly, 88, 89, 90, 92, 94, 

96, 97, 98, 100, 102, 103 
Grattan, 379 
Grecian, 31 
Greece, 1 

Grcemoood Laddie, 303 
Grevillo, Sir Hiclianl, 109 
Grey, Lady Elizabeth, 82 
Grey, Sir John, 82 
Groy, Lady .lane, 152 
Giey, Lord Leonard, 85 
Grisi, 395 

Gunnings, 225, 226, 247 
Gyles, Mr., 380 

TTALE, 190 

-•-'- Hagley, 255 

Ualler, Mrs., 375, 376, 384 

Hamilton, Sir George, 111 

Hamilton, Miss Elizabeth, 111, 112, 

113, 111, 115, 11(1, 117 
liamilt.m. Lady, 309 
J I It lid ct, 299, 326 
Hampton, 293 
Hawkins, Miss, 280 
Hazlitt, 314 
Hardcastle, Miss, 333 
Harnet, Mr , 77 

Harri.s, Mr., 248, 249, 250, 251, 372 
Hartley, Mrs., 263 
Hatton Garden, 252, 255 
Hayes, Catherine, 386, 393, 395, 398, 

Ilayniarket, 333, 335, 346 
Hebrides, the, 40 
Jlclen, 350 
Helen of Ireland, 44 
Helen of Troy, 2 
Herbert, Colonel, 79 
Henry ir, 51, 52 
Henry VIL, 80 
Henry VIIL, 38, 80, 82, 84 
Henry, Earl of Surrey, 83 
Ilermiove, 154, 186, 263 
Highgate, 381 
Hill Street, 254 
Hitchcock, 143, 210, 355,356, 361 



Holinshed, 82 

Kildare, Earl of, 81 

Holyliead, 209 

Kildare, House of, 104 

Hubiiit Town, 401 

Kilduro 'I'huidre, 379, 381 

Iloratia, 373 

Kilkenny, 56, 284, 377, 378 

Houiislow Heath, 275 

Killucan, 81 

Howth,50, 101,214 

Kimbaoth, King, 10 

Huusdon, 83, 84 

King John, 195, 211, 212 

Hyde Park, 277, 280 

Kingston, 398 

Knox, Uishop of Limerick, 387, 395 

"TLIAD, 1, 44, 183 

-L Iuchl)iild, Mre., 304, 3 


T A Perla del 'J'eatro, 393 
■^ La Scala, 393 

Inchiquin, Castle of, 74, 


luchiquin, Manor oi, 74 

La Sonnambulu, 393 

India, 400 

Lablaches, Signori, 395 

Inia, Clothram, 31 

Lady Aim, 380 

Iniiisfail, 69 

Lady Betty Modish, 136 

Inis, Gluair, 69 

Lady Emily Gaylove, 344 

Isuhdla, 368 

Lady Jane Grey, 152 
Lady Lovcwell, 149 
Lady Marbctit, 298, 368 

" James 1., 80 

188, 194, 201 

Lady Randoli>h, 139, 368 

Lady Jicsllesii. 373 

James 11., 284 

Lady S ell, 351 

James, Mrs., 316 

Lady Teazle, 309, 338, 339 

James, liarl of Ahercorn 

, 111 

Lady Townly, 149, 154, -^21, 289, 320 

Jane Shore, 154, 213, 358, 369 

Lacy, Hugo de, 56 

Jeplison, 225 

Launceston, 401 

Jerome, Saint, 38 

Lely, Sir Peter, 113, 115 

Jerniyn Street, 297 

Lettice, Baroness Ophaly, 108 

Johnson, Dr., 140, 177, 


Lee, Mrs., 144 

Johnson, Miss, 285, 380 

Lee, John, 230 

Jones, 362, 363, 364 

Lee, Misses, 230, 337 

Jones's, 198 

Leeds, Duchess of, 197 

Jordan, Mrs., 303, 308, 

311, 312, 314, 

Leeds 'J'heatre, 303, 336 

317, 342 

Leicester, Earl of, 77 

Jordan, Waters of, 304 

Leicester Street, 229 

Julia Hardy, 343 

Leicester Fields, 229 

Juliet, 357, 358, 364 

Leiuster, 33, 34, 35, 40 
Leinster, King of, 4, 20, 41, 47 
Lennox, Lord Wm., 368 

-•-^ Kavanat^li, 53 

72, 74 

Lethe, 293 

Limerick, Earl of, 387, 388 

ICavanagli, Miss, 380 

Lincoln, lOarl of, 87 

Kean, Edmund, 374 

Linda di Ohaniouni, 394 

Kells, 25, 39 

Lionel, Duke of Clarence, 57 

Kelly, 223, 224 

Lisbon, 180 

Kemble, Mrs. John, 386 

Little Strawberry Hill, 290, 296 

Kemble, John, 336, 342, 

343, 349, 350, 

Lobkowitz, Prince, 197 

370, 371, 375 

Loch Ribh, 30 

Kew Palace, 271 

London, 78, 81, 98, 214, 304, 377 

Kildare, 37, 40 

Londres, Henry de, 38 

Kildare, The Book of, 39 

Lord Townly, 149 

Kildare, Curragh of, 42 

Louche, Sir- John, 81 



Louth, County of, 81 
Lucan, 81 

Lucas's Coffee House, 224 
Lucia (It Lammcrmoor, 393, 396 
Lucombe, Miss, 397 
Lyttelton, Lord, 252, 253, 254, 255, 


-'■'^ MacFloinn, King of Meath, 45 

Maclloth, 22, 23 

Macha, Queen, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 

Magazine, Gentleman's, 243, 359 

Magazine, Scots', 243 

Magazine, European, 243 

Magazine, Dublin University, 396 

Mahomet, 161 

Mahomet Riot, 167 

Maidenhead, 312 

Maiden, Lord, 265, 266, 267, 268, 271, 

276, 277 
Mallow, 382, 384 
Mansfield, Lord, 233 
Maria, 320, 355, 376 
Mario, 390 
Marianne, 194 
Miulborongh Stroot, 205 
Marseilles, 392 
Mary, 32 

Mary, qavon of Scots, 79, 83 
Maryloljone, 281 
Mayo, Viscount, 100, 102 
McFirbis, 62, 65 
M^ave, Queen, 3, 5, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 

25, 30, 31 
Medlicott, Mr., 222 
Melbourne, 400, 401 
Mellifont, 47 
Melpomene, 376, 386 
Menghis, Herr, 399 
Metham, Sir George, 199, 200, 228, 

231, 232, 233, 234 
Methodist Preacher, 307 
Merry, Mr. Eobert, 278 
Meyer, Mr., 268 
Milan, 392, 393 
Millamant, 320 
Moody, 342 
Molly, Mrs., 249, 251 
Molyneux, Sir Francis, 253 
Monimia, 189, 191, 355, 356, 357 
More, Hannah, 247 
Moore, Thomas, 11, 48 

Moore, Zachary, 207 
Moore, Tom, 368, 371 
Mossop, 237, 239, 240 
Mrs. Oakley, 375 
Muckross, 79 
Munstcr, Earl of, 315 
Murasky, l?aiony of, 100 
Museum, British, 226, 259 

J-^ Neptune, 215 
Newport Bay, 93 
Night Tliouglita, 232 
Nonjuror, 167 
Norma, 398 
Normans, the, 53 
Norman Conquest, 44 
Norman Knight, 44, 56 
Norman, William the, 44 
North Audley Street, 202 
North America, 246 
Ny-Maill(^, 83 

A'BYRNE, Captain, 253 

^ O'Caroll Thady, King, 65 

O'Carroll, 61, 70 

O'Carroll, Miss Margaret, 61, 62, 63, 

61, (19, 70, 71 
O'Carroll, (Jrainno, 88, 89, 90, 94, 96, 

102, 103 
O'Cleary, 61 
O'Connor, King Roderick, 45, 46, 47, 

51, 56 
O'Donuell, Elizabeth, 89 
O'Donovan, John, 88 
O'Driscoll, 62 
Odyssey, 1 
O' Flaherty, 94 
O'Hara, Jobn, 176 
O'Hara, Mrs., 211, 221 
Oldfield, Mrs., 154 
Old Adam, 328 
Old Mother Redcap, 328 
Old Parr, 78 
O'Mailly, Owen, 92 
O'Neill, Miss, 360, 362, 364, 365, 366, 

307, 368, 369, 370, 371, 374, 375, 

377, 378, 379, 380, 381 
O'Neill, John, 377 
O'Neill, Charles, 377 
O'Neill, Robert, 377 
Ophelia, 126, 367 



Ormonde Castle, 377 

O'Hourke, Prince of BrefFny, 45, 46, 51 

Oirei-y, Countess of, 153 

Othello, 187 

Otranto, the Castle of, 290 

Oxford Street. 202 


-*- Pagliere, Signor, 369 

Palmer, 342, 346, 351 

Palmer, Roger, 2 

Pall Mall, 280 

Pantheon Rotunda, 244, 252 

Parsons, 342, 347 

Patrick, Saint, 37 

Patriotic Fund, 400 

Peach, Mrs. Apphia, 259 

Peggy, 304, 305 

I'emhroko, lOarl of, 66 

Pembroke, Countess of, 65 

Pepys, 111, 112 

Porclita, 204, 270, 278, 281, 282, 283, 

312, 336 
Persiani, Madam, 395 
Philadelphia, 400 
Philip, Sir, 97 
Pierre, 238, 239 
I'ohjdore, 190 
tolly Peachum, 124 
Pope, Mr., 177, 182,354,358 
I'ope, 296 

I'ope, Maria, 302, 359 
I'ope, Miss, 342, 351 
I'orter, Mrs., 154 
Portia, 209 
Portsmouth, 206 
Power, Mrs. John, 378 
Power, Richard, 380 
Pritchard, Mrs., 150, 170 
Protestants, 105 
Provini,' Signor, 392 
I lye, Mrs., 180 
Rye, Captain, 180 
Pyrrhus, 186 

QUEENSBERRY House, 196, 198 
Queensberry, Duchess of, 197 
Quin, Mr., 132, 151, 152, 188, 189, 

190, 191, 193, 195, 232 
Quin, Mrs., 201 

RAFTOR, William, 284, 300 
Raftor, Kitty, 285 
Raleigh, Sir Wjilter, 75, 76, 89 
Redclytfe, Saint Mary, 246 
Reeves, Mr. Sims, 397, 398 
Remus, 1 

Reynohls, Sir Joshua, 297, 309 
Rhea, Silvia, 1 
Rich, Mr., 129, 167, 108, 188,189,191, 

192, 208, 226, 229 
Richard III., 293, 362 
Richard the Third, 380 
Richard CuDur de Lion, 55 
Richmond, 231, 256 
Robinson, Miss, 248, 250 
Rolanson, Mr., 248, 251, 252, 254, 

255 257 
Robinson, Mrs., 252, 259, 261, 262, 

264, 273, 274, 275, 277, 278, 279, 

Robinson, Sir Tliomaa, 141 
Roman Church, 65 
Romanzini, JNliss, 153 
]lomu, 1 

Romeo and Jidiet, 29, 260, 364, 371 
Romulus, 1 
Ronconi, Signor, 391 
Rosalind, 170, 171, 345 
Rosciad, 295 
Ross-Ruadh, 18 
Rowleigh, Sir Walter, 78 
Ruth, 133 
Rutland, 372 
Ryan, Mr., 189, 190 

V^AINT Cloud, 316 

^-^ Saint George's Chapel, 87 

Saint James's Street, 280 

Saint Martin's Lane, 346 

Salisbury, 323, 326, 353 

Salisbury, The Mayor of, 234, 323 

Salthill, 266 

Sandwich islands, 400 

San Francisco, 400 

Sapio, Signor Antonio, 389. 390 

Sarum, The Mayor of, 325 

Sayer, Mr. Alderman, 253 

School for Scandal, 318, 344 

Scott, Sir Walter, 86, 381 

Seal, Miss, 179 

Serina, 190 

Shaftesbury, Lady, 197 

Shakspeare, 29, 343 



Sliannon, 25, 31 

She Stoops to Co7tquer, 333 

She IVould and She Would Not, 309 

Sherklan, 124, 153, 155, 157, 158, 161, 

162, 163, 164, 167, 176, 185, 208, 

20.0, 211, 21!), 22 1, 260, 338 
Sliiol, i;irli:ii(l,)r, 360 
Sidilons, Mrs., 301), 342, 344, 360, 371, 

374, 381, 382 
Singapore, 400 
Sir Harry Revel, 273 
Sir Harrri Wildair, 143, 149, 157 
Sniithfield, 2 
Smock Alley, 126, 211, 224, 237, 336, 

Snodgrass, (.lie Ivcv. Mr., 227 
Sonicr.siit House, 111 
Soiitli Amoiiai, 100 
Soutliainpton, 201 
Soutliaiiiptou Street, 204, 205 
Southampton 13uildings, 247 
Sp.ain, 62, 94 
Spanish Barber, 334 
Strongbow, Earl, 52, 54, 55 
Stewart, Lady Mary, 178 
Sullivan, Mr,, 186 
Siiett, Mr., 342 
Surroy, I'/iri of, S3, 85 
Swing, Mr, Ml 
vSydonliain, 401 
Sydney, 400 
Syduev, Jlobert, 77 
Sydney, Viceroy, 97 
Sylvia., 131, 133 

rpAIN-BO-CUUAILGNE, 19, 21,31, 
-L 32 

Taileton, C^o!., 279 

Tl.alia, 376, 386 

Tliames, 98 

Theatre, Covent Garden, 129, 132 

Theatre, Drury lyanc, 140, 348 

Theatre, Waterlbrd, 355 

Theatre, Dublin, 357 

The Bcrjfjar's Opera, 124 

The nri'dhcrs, 231 

The Chapter of Accidents, 230, 337 

The Chicken Gloves, 234 

The Devil to Pay, 289 

The Fair Penitent, 303 

The Heiress, 344 

The Irish Widow, 273, 309 

The Lass o Gowrie, 387 

The Man of Mode, 133 
The Maid's Tragedy, 194 
The Merry Wives of Windsor, 371 
The Miniature Picture, 273 
7'he New Canterbury Tales, 230 
The Orphan, 355, 356 
7'he Provoked Husband, 221, 335, 350 
The Provoked Wife, 335 
The Recess, 230 
The Recruit inr/ Officer, 130 
I'he Revenge, 23l' 
The Rivals, 350 
The Stranger, 375 
The West Indian, 335 
The Wheel of Fortune, 350 
The Winter's Tale, 262 
The Virgin Unmashed, 289, 348 
'J'i()I)oid-na-IiUng, 08 
Tiinour the Tartar, 365 
Tower Gate, 08 

Townshend, ]Marchiones.s of, 245 
Trinity College, 225, 238 
Troy, 48 

Tivelfih Night, 305 
Twickenham, 297 
Tyiavvley, T^ady, 178 
Tyr.awloy, Lord, 176, 177, 170, 182, 
183, 184, 185, 193 

^ Ulster, 17, 23, 30, 31, 66 
Ulster, Earl of, 56 
Ulidians, 14 

TTENICE, 303, 394 

' Venice Preserved, 238 
Victor, 153, 165 
Victoria, (Juceu of Great Britain, 5, 3^, 

56, 57 
Vienna, 307 
Villiers, Barbara, 3 
Violanle, Madam, 123, 125 
Vitgil, Uryden'8, 183 
Vol|)one, 105 
Volumnia, 368 

WAKEFIELD, 329, 330 
Wales 50 
Wales, Prince of, 266, 267, 273, 274, 

275, 276, 277, 345 
Wales, Princess Dowager of, 146 



Walpole, Horace, 226, 290, 294, 306 

Wilton, Countess of, 353 

Walstein, Miss, 363, 367, 370, 371 

Will Havard, 328 

Walter, Sir Geoi-e, 180 

William III., 284 

Warburtoii, Mary, 248 

Williams, Sir C. Hanbury, 134 

Ward, Mrs., 342 

Windsor, 87, 352, 353 

Warwick, 104 

Windsor Castle, 352 

Warwickshire, 109 

Woffington, Veq, 121—129, 131, 132— 

Warniestre, Miss, 110 

155, 157, 158, 161, 164, 166—173, 

Warrens, 235 

185, 227, 233, 236, 288, 289, 291, 

Waterford, 53, 302, 354, 356 

292, 293, 305, 320 

Wateifdrd 'I'lieatro, 355 

AVoflington, John, 122 

Welsh Clergyman, 302 

Woodville, Elizabeth, 82 

Wesley, John, 1C9 

Wrighten, 346, 347 

Wesley's Hymns, 214 

Wrixon, Beecher, Sir, 379, 382, 383 

Western Irish, 91 

Wrixon. Lady, 385 

Wewitzer, 347 

Wroughton, 351 

Wexford, 62, 56 

Whitehall, 2 

Whitchell, Lord Chief Justice, 123 

yORK, Duke of, 271 
-*■ Younge, Miss, 354 

While Knight, 73 

Whitworlh, Mr., 397 

Wilkinson, Mr., 1C8 

Wilkinson, Tate, 168, 169, 170, 243, 

r/irnAPvES, 280 

^ Zorilda, 365 

803, 304 

Wilson, Mrs., 342 

1 ' . . 




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